As the coronavirus wears on for almost a year now, we’re starting to have more tools to fight it, both in because we are now better able to identify who has the disease and prevent them from spreading it and because the vaccines are starting to be given to the public. While it seems we’re on the way to recovery, things are far from over and unfortunately, that means there are also new crimes related to the coronavirus coming to light.
The Problem of Forged Test Results
As more and more countries have started requiring travelers to provide a negative coronavirus test result before they travel, some people have turned to buying or forging falsified test results showing they tested negative for the virus. This isn’t just a dangerous practice that puts other people in harm, it is also a very serious crime -especially if the person chooses to not provide their real results because they know they have Covid-19.
In fact, in California, forging Covid-19 test results is a form of falsifying documents, which is punishable by up to one year in jail when charged as a misdemeanor and 3 years in prison when filed as a felony. But that’s not the only charge you could face for this crime -if you lied on a governmental form, stating that these records are correct to the best of your knowledge, this is considered perjury, which is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
And if you knew, or should have known, that you were infected with the coronavirus, you could be charged with intentionally exposing someone to a disease. This crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, but if someone dies as a result of the exposure, you could even face more serious charges such as manslaughter or murder.
Falsifying Vaccine Records
While too few people have yet been vaccinated to create a real need need for falsified coronavirus vaccine records, it seems entirely likely that as the US creeps closer to herd immunity through the use of vaccines, places may start to require proof of immunization to enter. In fact, there is already discussion that popular destinations like Disneyland will require such documentation at some point in the future.
As it stands right now though, plenty of people already forge vaccine records -anti-vaxxer parents who want their children to attend public school, but refuse to provide them with the mandatory vaccines for enrollment. Just like those who are falsifying their Covid-19 test results, these people could be charged with forgery and possibly perjury or intentionally infecting someone with a disease. And the same will apply if and when records of coronavirus vaccines become required for entry into some institutions as well.
Professionals Falsifying Medical Documents
It’s worth adding that any doctors, nurses or other medical professionals who intentionally falsify these types of records can be charged with falsifying medical documents. Aside from facing up to one year in jail, those accused of this crime can also risk losing their professional license, which is why it is so important to take this matter seriously and never speak to the police without an attorney present.
While many people find coronavirus restrictions frustrating, time-consuming and financially burdening, it’s important to note that they are dramatically less difficult, drawn-out and expensive than being charged with criminal charges for trying to curtail these laws. That being said, if you have been accused of these charges or any similar crimes, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.