Follow the Rules: New Jersey’s Stay at Home Order Means Stay at Home
Posted by Scott Gorman - April 24, 2020

By now, we all know that Governor Murphy has ordered all New Jersey residents to hunker down at home. We can still run out to essential businesses to pick up goodies like prescription medication, wine, and guns, although you’ll need to first make an appointment to add to your weapons cache, so be sure to call ahead. We’ve also learned that the governor’s Stay at Home order takes precedence over the municipal seal of Lakewood that proudly declares: “Ain’t No Party Like A Lakewood Party Cuz A Lakewood Party Don’t Stop!”

Enforcement of the Stay at Home order isn’t limited to Lakewood. The owner of a Morris County tennis club and gym was just cited for aiding and abetting the violation of the governor’s order by allowing his facility to remain open. The Newark Police Department has a COVID-19 task force that has been aggressively issuing summonses and shutting down establishments that have remained open in violation of the emergency order.

But what statutory authority is there for filing criminal charges against violators? Our Morristown criminal attorney explains.

The Civil Defense and Disaster Control Act

The Civil Defense and Disaster Control Act empowers the police to charge people who violate the governor’s orders that are issued during a public health emergency. Violators are charged with disorderly persons offenses that are punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in the county jail. Of particular significance to owners of law firms is N.J.S.A. A:9-50, which prohibits aiding and abetting the violation of orders like the Stay at Home order. The owner of the tennis club and gym in Morris County was charged with violating that statute and owners of non-essential businesses who direct their employees to report to work as usual risk being similarly charged.

Contact Morristown Criminal Attorney Scott Gorman Today if You’re Facing Charges

To sum up, when you get that R.S.V.P. for a Lakewood wedding, strongly consider regretfully declining. Also, as this is an emergency, please stay safe, stay home, and if you own a non-essential business, let your employees do so, too. And if you violate the rules and end up facing charges, contact Morristown criminal attorney Scott Gorman at The Gorman Law Firm today.

Published in Categories: Criminal Defense