Gwinnett County Solicitor General to prosecute stay-at-home violators

A warning from the Gwinnett County Solicitor General.

"It can be enforced by us prosecuting them," Solicitor General Brian Whiteside said. "If a police officer chooses to write them a citation then we would investigate that."

A citation, or possibly arrest, for folks failing to follow the county's stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

County leaders announced the order Friday but according to Whiteside some folks still felt the need to get out.

"I had people contact me and say that they have saw people jump fences. I, personally, went outside and saw people that were at least 15, maybe 20 people at a quick trip in Suwanee. They were less than six feet apart," Whiteside.

As a result of incidents like that, Whitehead says his office will prosecute all individuals who fail to follow the order.

Along with jail, they could be charged with a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine, according to a county ordinance.

"I think the first thing the police are going to do is they are going to verbally try to educate people. If there is a continuous violation of the law for possible danger for the community, they have that discretion whether they want to write a citation or they want to use verbal language," Whiteside said.

We spoke with attorney Kevin Pratt, of Pratt & Wall Attorneys at Law, about what to do if cited.

"They'd report to recorders court, sometime in the near future and be able to defend the face for wherever grounds they have for being out," Pratt explained.

He also explained what he believes would be a violator's final outcome.

"If someone were to actually be prosecuted for it, they would probably pay a small fine. They probably would not be arrested for it," Pratt said.

The order does not apply for things like grocery shopping, going to the bank or work,  county leaders say they're targeting those participating in non-essential activities.