Were You Charged With A Coronavirus-Related Crime?

Coronavirus is the novel infection that is spreading across the globe at a rapid rate, causing the dangerous disease COVID-19 along the way. It has devastated our economy and pushed millions of Americans out of work, and government-issued checks for individuals and small businesses are too far away to help many of us. The bailout legislation might be signed later today.

Because poverty is the underlying cause of almost all crime, it stands to reason that many people will feel compelled to do wrong during this time of crisis. 

But authorities are taking these crimes very seriously — and so should you. More importantly, you should take any resulting criminal charges just as seriously, because they could follow you around the rest of your life.

Missouri resident Cody Pfister was recently arrested and charged with making a terrorist threat after a video surfaced online wherein he licked an array of Wal-Mart products while asking: “Who’s scared of coronavirus?”

The court said that Pfister “knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition involving danger to life existed.”

He was charged, but that does not mean he will accept a plea deal or be found guilty of the crime. Prosecutors will likely be fighting tooth and nail to discover whether or not he actually has the coronavirus infection. Or they could be avoiding that information altogether. If Pfister doesn’t have the virus, it’s difficult to assert that much of a threat was made or that charges were anything more than example-making on the part of police.

And Pfister’s criminal defense attorney has his own battle tactics already cooked up. He plans to suggest that the video was actually filmed before the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the coronavirus crisis as a pandemic, making Pfister’s obviously immature actions look quite different in light of new information. But should he be held accountable for that?

Whether or not the strategy works is up in the air. The point is this: if you were arrested and charged with a crime in any way related to the novel coronavirus, you need a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don’t delay.

And those of you who haven’t found yourselves in trouble should take steps to prevent even the remotest possibility. Don’t need groceries or exercise? Then stay indoors. People who have never hiked a day in their lives are helping overcrowd parks and trails around the country, making almost no public area safe for common forms of recreation. Stick to walking around the block or even in your backyard!