COVID-19 January 8, 2021 | 4:34 pm

Can you be legally arrested for violating the curfew?

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic.- The limitation of freedom of transit and assembly during the curfew continues to generate debates in the population due to the treatment of the agents of the National Police and the General Directorate of Traffic Safety and Land Transport ( Digesett ) to citizens to enforce the measures ordered by the Government to stop the spread of the pandemic.

The Meeting and the Guardians of Democracy movement argue that the clashes between civilians and the police force are based on ignorance of the State of Emergency and citizen rights’ legal implications. Faced with this problem, they made a digital pocket manual for people to seek the preservation of their human rights in any incident.

Can you get caught for violating the curfew?

According to the document, no. The explanations of lawyer Paola Pelletier, a human rights defense lawyer, indicate that a fine can only be imposed on the citizen for violating the curfew because this crime is not typified in the Penal Code.

The value of this fine for passers-by and people in places of entertainment is one thousand and two thousand pesos, respectively.

Decree 740-20 does not establish the deprivation of liberty for failure to comply with restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 unless you are in a public space and do not wear a mask. The authors of the document explain that the presidential order dictates that the sanctions applied in the case of disrespect to the regulations are those established by the General Health Law 42-01, which cites fines, not arrests.

What can lead to an arrest is disobeying or revealing the provisions of the authority.

Can the authorities confiscate your property?

No. The editors emphasize that Law 21-18 on States of Exception does not establish property confiscation permitting during the State of Emergency.

What to do if the authorities arrest you?

  • Check if the authority has identification.
  • Ask for the officer’s name.
  • Ask the reasons for the arrest.
  • Ask where they will take you.
  • Make use of the right to a call.
  • Record, and note that you are doing it to ensure the transparency of the review process.
  • Send real-time location to family and friends.

What would be the solution?

The document highlights that a legal instrument is needed to regulate the penalties for violation of the curfew.

More details are posted in the full document, prepared by El Mitin and Guardianes de la Democracia.