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Can You Be Prosecuted for Violating a Quarantine?

Posted on in Criminal Law

Can You Be Prosecuted for Violating a Quarantine?The Illinois Department of Public Health and local health boards have broad authority to order quarantines of people or locations in the interest of public safety. With the COVID-19 outbreak in Illinois, the IDPH may utilize this power to isolate or quarantine people who they reasonably suspect of carrying the virus. Many people will voluntarily comply with a request to quarantine themselves to help stop the spread of the virus. If you refuse to quarantine yourself, the IDPH can request a court order to quarantine you. If the order is granted, violating it would be a criminal offense.

Quarantine and Isolation

There are two orders that the IDPH can use to separate infected people from the public. A quarantine is used when people have potentially been exposed to a communicable disease and need to be separated until it is determined that they are not a risk to the public. Isolation is for people who are confirmed to have the disease or show symptoms of the disease.

The IDPH cannot enforce quarantine or isolation unless you consent or it receives a court order. For the court to approve a quarantine or isolation order, the IDPH must prove that:

  • The person, group or place has been or likely was exposed to a contagious disease
  • The disease poses a significant danger to public health
  • Alternatives to quarantine or isolation have been exhausted

Your Right to Respond

If a court issues a quarantine or isolation order against you, you will receive a written notice that includes the reason for the order and the duration of your quarantine or isolation. The notice will also inform you of your right to contest the order through a court hearing, during which the IDPH or local health board must provide clear evidence that the order is necessary. If the order stands or you do not contest it, then it becomes legally enforceable. Violating or disobeying the rules and regulations of the IDPH is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by no longer than one year in jail and a fine of no more than $2,000.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are charged with violating a quarantine or isolation order, you could argue that you were reasonably unaware of the order or that the conditions of the order were unclear. A McHenry County criminal defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, is prepared to represent you when facing any criminal charges. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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