County Attorney David Garcia said in his warning that residents would be charged with violating Texas Penal Code 22.05(a), which makes it a Class A misdemeanor to “recklessly [engage] in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.”
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
“If you’re going to go out and endanger other people, and we find out about it, we will prosecute you,” Garcia said to an ABC station in South Texas.
“People have not really embraced the dangers of COVID-19. It’s dangerous. It’s killing people, and it’s making people very sick. So either do it because you’re concerned about others or do it because you’re going to be punished if you don’t.”
No one in Brooks County has died from the coronavirus, and the county has seen only 11 total cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
The city manager of Laredo gave a similar warning on Monday, saying that coronavirus patients who fail to quarantine and cooperate with contact tracers would be prosecuted.
However, Laredo officials offered a different statute to substantiate their warning, saying violators would be charged under the Texas Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Act, which makes it a third degree felony to disobey a lawful quarantine order or other official rule during a deadly viral outbreak.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."