Mask Mandates and Disorderly Conduct in Texas

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COVID-19 has been nothing if not disruptive – and confusing – and there is plenty more of that confusion to go around. While Texas’s governor is attempting to help Texas get back in the saddle, one of his more controversial tactics is halting the state’s mask mandate. Businesses are free to set their own requirements, and that is exactly the route in which many are going. Apparently, the governor’s optimism and enthusiasm are not universally shared, and guests in those businesses that require masks are required to oblige – or they could face disorderly conduct charges. If an issue involving a mask – or anything else – gets you in legal hot water, consult with an experienced Gatesville criminal defense attorney today.

Popular Destinations around Texas Weigh In

Some of the most popular destinations throughout the State of Texas have come down on the side of prudence and continue to require that masks be worn, including:

  • Six Flags over Texas

  • The Perot Museum

  • The Dallas Zoo

  • Many city-owned indoor spaces throughout the state

Additionally, many owners of small businesses stand in unity with these large enterprises and require that their patrons wear masks. Business owners are not only concerned with the safety of their customers but also with the safety of their employees. While continuing to require masks allows these business owners additional peace of mind, it has not stopped some guests from complaining bitterly – and causing a stir generally.

Is It Disorderly Conduct?

If you make a scene regarding a business’s mask requirement, it could amount to disorderly conduct. In the State of Texas, there are comprehensive laws in place that prohibit people from disturbing the peace of others, and in specific situations, it adds up to disorderly conduct, which makes offending, upsetting, annoying, and/or scaring others a criminal act. Additionally, disturbing the community at large can also qualify. The following are all examples of disorderly conduct in Texas:

  • Using obscene and/or abusive language in public

  • Engaging in an offensive display or gesture in public that incites a violent response

  • Fighting in public

  • Threatening or abusing someone (without being provoked) in public

  • Displaying a firearm in public to provoke, alarm, or upset others

  • Creating excess noise either in public

While mask requirements were very likely not envisioned when these laws were enacted, they have been invoked repeatedly to address the matter of guests in businesses who fail to comply with – or create a stir about – mask mandates.

Consult with an Experienced Gatesville Criminal Defense Attorney Today

We all continue to adapt to the changes wrought by the global pandemic, and the disconnect between the governor dropping Texas’s mask mandate and the fact that many businesses continue to embrace it is but one example. If you are facing a charge of disorderly conduct – or any other criminal act – Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Gatesville, Texas, is a savvy criminal defense attorney who understands the precarious nature of your predicament and has the reserves of legal insight necessary to help. For more information, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.
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