Yes, Intentionally Spreading COVID-19 Is A Crime

Yes, Intentionally Spreading COVID-19 Is A Crime

by Jul 9, 2020

In an unfortunate and rather depressing turn of events, cases of people intentionally trying to spread the COVID-19 coronavirus have started to appear in some states. It should go without saying that if you test positive for the disease, and then attempt to purposely infect another individual or group, that is a crime.

The exact type of crime you will be charged with will depend on the circumstances of your case. The degree of charges you will face (misdemeanor or felony) will also depend on exactly what you have done.

With that said, here are some of the possible charges you can face for intentionally spreading COVID-19.

Assault And Battery

Purposefully transmitting any potentially life-threatening communicable disease (such as HIV, Hepatitis C, and others) can get you charged with aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is defined as “assault causing serious bodily injury” and is a felony in most cases.

If convicted of felony aggravated assault, you’re going away to prison for at least a few years.

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Reckless Endangerment

If you test positive for COVID-19 and then go sit in a bar or restaurant and interact with the public, you could be charged with reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment is defined as occurring “when a person’s conduct places or might place another person in danger of death or serious injury.”

Reckless endangerment can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime.

Harassment And Terrorist Threats

You can be charged with harassment and/or making terrorist threats if you threaten to intentionally spread COVID-19.

Even if you don’t have the virus, telling people that you do and then deliberately coughing, spitting, or touching them is more than enough to get you charged with a crime. In this case, prosecutors aren’t even required to prove that you had an infectious disease to begin with. All a prosecutor has to prove to get a conviction is that you made a clear, immediate, and unconditional threat to transmit the virus.

”Just Joking” Is Not A Defense

If you are charged with any of the crimes above, telling police and prosecutors that you were “just joking” about spreading COVID-19 will not help you. The people who felt threatened by you didn’t know you were joking, and that is what makes it a crime.

If you are charged, you need to call a defense attorney immediately, because you’re likely in a tremendous amount of trouble, whether you were joking or not.


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