Lying about having novel coronavirus could lead to 5 years in jail and a $50,000 fine

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Alaska State Troopers are warning people against falsely claiming they have novel coronavirus.

(Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

After an incident Friday when a drunk driver claimed to have COVID-19 and began coughing on troopers, the Alaska Attorney General’s office issued a statement that such action constitutes a crime.

According to AST Sergeant Aaron Mobley, falsely claiming you have the virus could result a charge of first or second degree terroristic threatening. Both charges are felonies.

"To straight up lie about it to try to get out of a ticket, to try to prevent us from responding to get out of an arrest or something is not going to set well -- and you are probably going to end up charged with a felony level crime," Mobley said.

Lying about the having COVID-19 is classified as terroristic threatening in the second degree -- a class C felony -- and could result in five years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. A person who knowingly coughs, sneezes, or spits a bacteriological or biological substance -- and as a result, places a person in reasonable fear of physical injury -- can be charged with terroristic threatening in the first degree. That's a class B felony that could lead to up to 10 years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.

Mobley said they are working to keep all of the law enforcement officers and other first responders safe, and that even if you do have the virus they will still respond.

He said that if you do have the virus to let troopers know so that they can take precautionary measures to protect themselves.

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