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How a “California roll stop” (running a stop sign) led to felony drug charges.

by | Mar 14, 2021 | Firm News |

On March 12, 2021 Officer Norton with Alpharetta Police Department was performing traffic monitoring at an intersection on Henderson Road. The residents of the area had complained that multiple vehicles on a daily basis were running a stop sign. Officer Norton stopped a vehicle for running a stop sign, a simple misdemeanor traffic citation. During his stop with the driver, Officer Norton, based on his experience noted that something else was going on during his interaction with the driver. At the end of this simple traffic stop the driver was charged with Felony Possession of Marijuana, Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) for Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) Hallucinogenic Mushrooms (Psilocybin), Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) THC Wax and $1400 in cash (which will result in a civil action by the government) and of course running the stop sign.

There is a great deal of information contained in the small paragraph above. In addition to the charges that are currently pending, the occupants of the vehicle can also receive the same drug charges because they were simply in the car with the driver of the white vehicle. Of course, any reasonable person would say that makes no sense, they were just in the vehicle. In Felony criminal law, the state can use a “vehicle” called “Parties to a crime” to enhance any charge onto another defendant. This particular charge allows prosecutors to give charges to another defendant that otherwise would not apply. The state “looks” at the case as why were the occupants in the vehicle if not to participate in the drug activity? If the answer for the state is slightly in any way yes then those charges are deemed to be appropriate for the other defendants.

There are other charges which could potentially be case upon other defendants as well. Of course, depending on where the drugs were found if the state links this as a drug purchase gone bad, then the drugs could be placed upon any of the other defendants as well. Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) has large ramifications if someone is convicted. Of course a violation of this act will depend upon with which drug someone is charged, but overall none of the sentences upon a finding of guilt are amicable.

As far as the money goes, the state is going to file a “confiscation” or forfeiture lawsuit and attempt to take the drivers cash that was found through that action.

It doesn’t matter where you find yourself in Georgia almost all of the police forces in Georgia have a special team that investigates drug charges and fatality traffic offenses. In City of Alpharetta and Fulton County there is a specialized investigative section, which is a part of the criminal investigations division, that investigates violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act called the Narcotics unit. There is another team which is a part of the criminal investigations division which looks into accidents and traffic issues which is called the Crime Scene investigations unit. Each of these “detectives” have to be called onto the scene by responding officers. Each county (whether it is an arrest in DeKalb county, cobb County, Gwinnett County of any of the counties in Georgia) has a special division for investigation of drug crimes.