Coughing in the Time of Coronavirus Could be Criminal

In the time of the coronavirus, coughing could be a crime in certain circumstances. When you cough and do not cover your mouth, germs hang in the air and travel quite a distance. A coronavirus cough could potentially kill.

“Infectious diseases specifically have been held to be deadly weapons in Texas,” said Joel Hoelscher, a (San Antonio) attorney with Hoelscher, Gebbia, Cepeda PLLC.

Some people might think it is a joke to cough on someone and say they have the coronavirus, but it might not be so funny when you know the cost it carries.

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“Typically, it’s going to be treated as an assault,” Hoelscher said. “So we’ll require that somebody coughing on another person intentionally – knowingly or recklessly, not an accidental cough, but intentionally coughing on somebody or placing them in fear of being coughed on – (be treated as an assault). In Texas, we have a history of criminalizing conduct that leads to an infection that threatened somebody with infection.”

Hoelscher said there is already a precedent in Texas for this legal argument. He said there was one case where an HIV-positive inmate spit on a guard and was charged with attempted murder. The inmate was sentenced to life in prison. It could mean less time behind bars for you, but it is still significant.

“They could be charged with a felony carrying up to 20 years in prison as a penalty in some cases, depending on the charge,” Hoelscher said. “Whether somebody is actually infected and injured as a result could be a first-degree felony carrying up to 99 years.” It does not matter if you actually have the coronavirus or not…  KENES5 News

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