Ohio Law

Could Ohio Go Into Martial Law Due To Coronavirus?

Ohioans have been under a Stay At Home order since March 23, 2020. The initial Stay At Home order expired on April 6, 2020. However, a new Stay At Home order in Ohio was issued on April 7, 2020, and continues through May 1, 2020.

The chances of martial law being initiated in Ohio are low. Governor Mike DeWine addressed rumors about martial law several times. Gov. DeWine explained that the National Guard was in Ohio to assist in food pantries.

The top guardsman in Ohio also confirmed they were not deployed in Ohio to institute martial law. Major General John C. Harris, Jr. confirmed the National Guard would be distributing, packaging, and transporting food to help the residents of Ohio.

What is Martial Law?’

Martial law is much different from a Stay At Home order. When a governor declares a State of Emergency, the governor has certain powers to protect the public. The governor may order certain businesses to close and advise residents to shelter in place except for work, health care, or obtaining essential services or goods.

However, martial law occurs when the military assumes governing powers from civil institutions. The military can act as police, judges, and even legislatures as they make decisions to protect the public during a crisis or emergency.

Some people began spreading rumors that the government was preparing to institute martial law when President Trump mobilized the National Guard in several states. However, mobilizing the National Guard under Title 32 is more about funding than it is about control.

The federal government assumes the cost of the National Guard operations in the states in which the President mobilizes the guard under Title 32. The state governments continue to have the authority to direct the actions of the National Guard within their states.

The National Guard is not in Ohio as a military force. They are here to help Ohioans by providing logistical support, meal delivery, COVID-19 training, preparing facilities to house coronavirus patients, and carry out other humanitarian relief as directed by the governors.

The National Guard is not here to suspend constitutional rights. They are here to help.

Ohio’s Stay At Home Order

Ohio’s shelter in place order prohibits gatherings of all sizes. It closes all nonessential businesses, but does not stop residents from leaving home to obtain essential services and goods, such as receiving medical care or going to the grocery store. The order is mandatory for all residents of Ohio.

The new order extending the shelter in place provisions for Ohioans includes several new updates. Businesses that remain open must now ensure that customers maintain a safe distance from each other when waiting to enter the business. Individuals arriving in Ohio from another state must now self-quarantine for 14 days.

Wedding receptions are limited to 10 people and swimming pools, other than pools at private homes, must close. Retail garden centers that remain open must reduce the capacity to maintain a safe environment for employees and customers.

Day camps for children are closed, and all organized adult and youth sports are prohibited. Fishing is permitted if individuals maintain a safe distance.

Ohioans need to continue to practice social distancing and avoid leaving home unless it is necessary. Flattening the curve by preventing the spread of the coronavirus is the best way to prevent additional deaths from COVID-19.

What Happens If I Am Arrested During the Coronavirus?

The police are still actively investigating and pursuing cases during the pandemic. The same advice applies to police investigations now as it did to police investigations before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your legal rights have not changed. You have the right to have a criminal defense lawyer with you during questioning. You have the right to consult with an attorney.

You have the right to remain silent. It is wise to exercise that right. You should not answer questions, make a statement, or take a polygraph test without discussing your case with an attorney.

Because of the virus, you do not want to be in jail a moment longer than you must. If you suspect the police are investigating you, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your attorney will work to make arrangements to avoid being held in jail, if possible.

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