Arrested for Failing to Wear a Mask: What You Need to Know

Face mask

Can you get arrested for not wearing a mask in Michigan?

It may be an understatement to say that tensions are running high in the state of Michigan as the state of emergency declaration and “Stay Home” order drag on.

Schools remain closed, small businesses are closed and going under. People are feeling the tension in the air as everything revolves around the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan has become what some might call the birth-place of extended lockdown protest, with its 4,000-person-strong “gridlock” of the capital on April 15. Protests continue in Michigan, despite being widely criticized in the media.

Mandated Masks

One of the major hot-button issues for the state has become the mandatory wearing of masks in enclosed spaces. In her last update to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, governor Whitmer mandated the wearing of masks even as she relaxed some of the other restrictions she had previously put in place.

What makes mask-wearing so difficult for people?

One reason could be that the public was getting conflicting information about masks throughout the beginning of the epidemic.

A few weeks ago, the general public was told that masks don’t contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Now, Michigan’s population is told they are mandatory in enclosed spaces.

It’s a step that Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, reversed, saying, “It became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far.”

However, this is Michigan. And violence has broken out around the mask issue.

Lockdown-Related Crimes Continue

Security guard Calvin James Munerlyn was killed on May 1 at a Flint Family Dollar store. The crime is the result of an argument with a customer over whether her daughter had to wear a mask. He was a father of nine. His killer remains on the run from the police.

In Holly, a man who was confronted about not wearing a mask was caught on camera wiping his nose on the employee’s shirt saying he would use it for a mask. He has been arrested.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton’s office has been flooded with calls about possible lockdown violations, including businesses that might not be complying.

Additionally, several more people have been arrested and charged with terrorism for things like spitting on health care workers.

None of these crimes and attitudes are right, no matter what the temporary laws say.

The killing of a man for doing his job should never be condoned. Moreover, spitting at and being violent toward an employee for doing her job will always end badly for the person who does it. These aren’t valid protests of the loss of personal freedom.

Can You Get Arrested for Failing to Wear a Mask in Michigan?

Thankfully, many people will wear masks either to protect themselves or to help others feel protected even if they don’t believe it will help.

The vast majority of people aren’t violent. For those who are being arrested, pursued, or charged with crimes like terrorism, their behavior went much further than simply forgetting or omitting a mask.

Still, some want to know if they can be fined or arrested for failing or refusing to wear a mask.

The truth is that Governor Whitmer has not put criminal penalties on a violation of her order. In addition, you can’t be prosecuted for not wearing a mask.

Does it mean you should get aggressive with any employee who asks you to put on a mask while in their store?

Arguably, no. Escalation of the situation is what is likely to get you charged with a crime. Ironically, this non-enforced rule may be making these confrontations more dangerous for store employees.

Bringing it Home

Regardless of what temporary rules say, there are better ways to protest for one’s constitutional rights than violence or harassment.

If you have any questions about your constitutional rights during this time, call my office today for a free initial consultation. We are happy to help you protect them.

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