Posted on 6/8/20

Shelley Luther, a Texas salon owner, made national news headlines after she opened her hair salon against the governor’s orders. She was arrested and taken to jail after she refused to keep her nail salon closed. Luther faced seven days of jail time and received a fine of $7,000. The Supreme Court of Texas ordered her release. 

Two more women in Laredo were arrested on April 15th in separate sting operations. The women allegedly offered customers cosmetic and hair services in their own homes. The police released the women to their homes on bond. These defendants also faced fines and jail sentences.

Governor Abbot Changed His Executive Order to Eliminate Jail as a Penalty

Texas Governor Abbot changed his executive order to “eliminate confinement in jail as an available penalty” for people who violate the Texas stay-at-home order. As a result of the change to the executive order, the women will not face jail time for allegedly violating the stay-at-home order. 

The Governor said that when he decided to change his executive order, he had the two women from Laredo in mind. He did not want them to fail prison time as a penalty, so he made the revision retroactive so that it would apply to them. 

Texas Counties and Cities Take Different Approaches to Enforce the Order

Throughout the shutdown, different cities and counties in Texas interpreted the stay-at-home order differently. Laredo and Dallas police officers wrote hundreds of tickets for violations of the order. On the other hand, Austin law enforcement has only issued two citations under the order. One retail location in San Antonio received only a verbal warning from law enforcement. 

As Texas begins to re-open, cities and towns face a new set of regulations. Additionally, enforcement of the stay-at-home order has now become a prominent hot-button political issue that has divided residents of Texas. 

The governor’s original order allowed law enforcement to order a violator to pay fines of up to $1,000 and serve jail time of up to 180 days, or both. As stated earlier, he removed the threat of jail time. Nonetheless, those who allegedly violate the order face a fine of $1,000 as well as a criminal charge on their record. He then stated that he was banning Texas cities from arresting people for violating the stay-at-home order. He also stated that he would nullify any criminal prosecutions under the stay-at-home order. 

Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers

Since the governor decided to nullify prosecutions, three of the state’s largest counties have sought to extend the stay-at-home order rather than to begin to re-open. Many Texas residents are confused about the law and whether or not they will face charges for violations. If you have been charged with a violation of the stay-at-home order, you will benefit greatly from an experienced Flower Mound criminal defense lawyer. Contact Abel Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation. 

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