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The Criminal Repercussions of Shelter in Place

Recently, the Alachua County Commission announced, via County Order 2020-09, that all county residents must “shelter in place” and “stay at home.” The commission stated that “only essential businesses should be open, and only essential errands should take you away from home.” So what does that mean to you?

The Order, available on the Alachua County government website, lists what constitutes “essential businesses” that remain open. These are businesses like healthcare, grocery stores, farmers, media services, gas stations, banks, legal and accounting services, childcare facilities, veterinarians, and more, and so many more. Non-essential businesses seem to be, to Alachua County, those businesses outside the list of essential businesses.

There are restrictions on how many people can be in a building and how to appeal a non-essential label.

The Order goes on to say “the County will direct any establishment to cease and desist operations that are in violation of this Emergency Order and may treat violations as a violation of County ordinance. Notwithstanding this, any violation of these emergency measure(s) shall be a violation of §252.50, Florida Statutes and may be punishable provided therein.”

For the average person – this means that violating the shelter at home order could mean you’re guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree – carrying no more than 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Contact us at Dunham and Ingram for your criminal and family law needs during this stressful time. We understand that things are moving and changing at a rapid pace, and we are here to help.