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What Are the Penalties for Breaking the Stay-At-Home Order?

 Posted on April 30, 2020 in Criminal Law

What Are the Penalties for Breaking the Stay-At-Home Order?Illinois residents have been under a stay-at-home order since March in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 outbreaks in the state. When the order was first announced, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that the police departments did not have the manpower or the desire to enforce the order on an individual level. However, police officers have taken action against people who have violated the order. The Chicago Police Department reported that it issued 4,632 dispersal orders, wrote six citations, and arrested 17 people for violating the stay-at-home order in April. With the order continuing at least through the end of May, it is important to understand when a violation of the order could result in criminal consequences.

Stages of Enforcement

In enforcing the stay-at-home order, police have focused on breaking up large social gatherings and making sure that non-essential businesses remain closed to the public. They generally enforce the order in three stages:

  • People who are violating the order will receive a verbal warning to disperse and a reminder of the order’s requirements.
  • If a person violates the order again, police will deem that person to be deliberately violating the order and issue a citation that includes a fine.
  • Continued violations after the citation may lead to the person being arrested and charged for failing to obey a dispersal order after repeated requests.

The amount of the fine may vary depending on the municipality. In Chicago, a citation for violating the order costs $500. A criminal charge related to violating the order is a misdemeanor, which often does not include mandatory jail time.

Your Defense

You have the right to defend yourself if you receive a citation or are arrested for violating the stay-at-home order. You may be able to claim that you were not violating the order or that you could not have reasonably known that you were in violation. You will need to remember the circumstances leading up to your citation and arrest. How the police officer interacted with you and whether you had been previously warned could affect your case.

Contact an Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, Criminal Defense Lawyer

The requirements of Illinois’ stay-at-home order have evolved. For instance, shoppers inside stores are now required to wear masks. If you are facing legal trouble because you supposedly violated the order, a Rolling Meadows, Illinois, criminal defense attorney at Hartsfield Law can advise you on your options for contesting the charge. Schedule a free consultation by calling 312-345-1700.


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