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Michigan Now Prosecuting Violations of Whitmer’s Stay at Home Order

Mar 27th, 2020 Covid-19 Michigan Now Prosecuting Violations of Whitmer’s Stay at Home Order

As part of a Continuing effort to battle the Covid-19 virus, Michigan first term Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently joined other states around the country in ordering all citizens of the state to stay at home. Her authority to do so arises out of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act passed in 1945.

This Act gives the Governor certain powers, as follows:

During times of great public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe, or similar public emergency within the state, or reasonable apprehension of immediate danger of a public emergency of that kind, when public safety is imperiled.

According to Executive Order 2020-21, all individuals currently living within the State of Michigan are ordered to stay at home or at their place of residence.  Unless individuals meet one of the enumerated exceptions, violations of this order are prosecuted as misdemeanors, punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and incarceration up to 90 days.

The order applies to nearly all forms of social gathering among persons not in the same household.  And according to the order:

All individuals who leave their home or place of residence must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.

Successful prosecution of alleged violations of the Act require that the prosecutor prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you “willfully disobeyed” or “willfully interfered” with the implementation of the stay at home order.  This is a high standard, but not necessarily one that cannot be met.

At the Barone Defense Firm, we urge all of Michigan’s citizens to do their part in helping to flatten the curve and limit the spread of Covid-19.  However, we are also very concerned about how the Governor’s order effectively suspends our First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble as well as the similar rights set forth in Article I Section 3 of the Michigan Constitution.  The Order also potentially imperils other Constitutional rights.

If you are on the receiving end of a ticket for violating Executive Order 2020-21, then the lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm are standing by, ready to help you defend the misdemeanor charge, and avoid fines or even jail.  During the Covid-19 crises, our office remains open and our telephone is answered 24/7.