In an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the Miami area, Mayor Francis Suarez issued an executive order on June 24, requiring the use of masks in most public spaces. This is not a request or a suggestion. It is a temporary law that is enforced by the Miami Police Department. Previously, there were stay-at-home orders and curfews. As I write this blog, those orders have been lifted, but they could be reinstated at any time. You may agree or disagree with these mandates, but the reality is, if you don’t cooperate, you could be fined or arrested.
You Are Responsible for Knowing the Law
It is important that you keep yourself informed of standing orders so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law. The City of Miami updates the orders on an almost daily basis, so it is a good idea to check out their website, follow them on Twitter (@CityofMiami), or subscribe to receive email updates. Telling a police officer that you didn’t know about a law will not get you out of a ticket.
Not Wearing a Mask Carries Civil Penalties
Along with the mayor’s order, the Miami City Commission also approved an emergency ordinance allowing the City to issue non-criminal civil infractions to individuals who violate the face-covering order. Initially, the penalty for a face covering violation was a warning the first time, a $50 fine the second time, and an order to appear in court the third time. The fines were later increased to $100 for the first and second offenses, and an arrest or notice to appear in court on the third offense. A $500 fine is also possible on your third citation.
Where Do You Have to Wear a Mask?
As the mayor’s order reads, you are required to wear a facial covering at all times while in any public space. There are some exceptions to the order, including children under 2, people with certain medical conditions, while you are eating or drinking, and while you are working or exercising outdoors with appropriate social distancing. If you are not wearing a face covering, you may be asked to prove that you qualify for an exception.
Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer?
If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami you should contact me as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me online or to call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You can also request my free book "The Ultimate Guide To Fighting Criminal Charges In Florida", a detailed download discussing the myths, rumors and hearsay often associated with criminal charges, what to expect from your criminal court proceedings and important steps you must take to battle your charges.