Stay-At-Home Orders And Social Distancing Give Cops Another Excuse To Stop You
As we all struggle to make it through this coronavirus pandemic, the police have become more aggressive than usual. The government’s command that they break up social gatherings and enforce curfews and stay-at-home orders have made some officers overzealous.
Violating An Emergency Declaration Is A Second-Degree Misdemeanor
A charge of violating an emergency declaration, which is the typical charge for violating Florida’s “safer-at-home” order, is a second-degree misdemeanor. It carries a maximum sentence of 60 days in the county jail and a $500 fine. The government, however, has scared people into thinking that such a charge is more akin to a felony.
Governance By Fear
Scaring people into complying with a law because they fear serious punishment is disgraceful. We are facing a serious health crisis, and instead of educating us about ways to keep safe while managing our day to day activities as best we can, the government has instead decided to make everyone feel like they will be branded a criminal for life if they take their dog on a walk.
Attorney Antonio Valiente is not going to let the government bully him into giving up his rights, neglecting his clients, or neglecting our firm’s Chief Morale Officer, Sophia Valiente. Our firm remains open, and Attorney Valiente continues to take Sophia for her daily walks, which are allowed under the state’s coronavirus laws, but apparently make you a suspected criminal.
Abuse Of Power
Law enforcement officials are hassling people who are in full compliance with our state’s laws and social distancing guidelines. In fact, the police are using their power to “protect the public from COVID-19” to stop and question people they would otherwise have no excuse to hassle.
What To Do If You Get Stopped
If you get stopped by police and accused of violating a coronavirus-related rule, remain calm. As we mentioned above, the police aren’t writing a lot of tickets for these infractions. They will probably be satisfied if you promise to return home right away.
However, pushing people to be “safer-at-home” is not all law enforcement officials are doing. Some are using the coronavirus as a pretext for stopping people so they can catch them breaking other laws.
If you get stopped by police, the best thing you can do is be polite but otherwise keep your mouth shut.
When an officer stops you, everything you do, from your eye movements and mannerisms to where you say you are headed, is being evaluated by the officer to determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion to expand the stop into something more. Don’t give the officer any more material to work with.
As soon as the officer hands you back your license, you should ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, leave. If the officer says no, tell him or her that you are choosing to remain silent and you want a lawyer — then don’t say anything else without your lawyer present. If the officer doesn’t really answer your question and instead tries to get you to talk to them a bit more, don’t take the bait. They are fishing for evidence. Politely remind them that you would like to be on your way, and ask them again if you can leave.
Always Here To Help
Despite the ongoing crisis, our firm remains open and ready to assist anyone in the Miami area who is in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney. We are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, and we would be happy to meet with you virtually if that works best for you. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting.
Posted in: Criminal