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

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.

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 Gwinnett 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.

If you have been accused by the police of Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act, Possession of Schedule I controlled substance or Possession of Schedule II controlled substance, Reckless Driving or Vehicular Homicide then you need help from a trained Criminal Defense attorney. Should YOU find that you either don’t want to face the court alone or simply feel that you need help from an attorney then give our office a call regarding your citations. There are facts to every case where defenses can be raised for every situation. Each situation is different from the other and requires a evaluation of all the information in order to properly mount a defense and a effective negotiation with the prosecutor’s office.

Remember that being charged with a felony does not mean you have to accept guilt, it means that you need a trained criminal defense attorney to mount a proper defense. Every criminal case is different because no two sets of facts are the same. Application of case law to your situation would take examination of the facts surrounding your case and applying case law properly to create a properly mounted defense for YOUR arrest.

Our office has 24 hour response lines and can answer your questions and help you. Give our team of criminal defense lawyers a call at 404-445-8494. We can help you mount a proper defense for your situation.


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Michael D Barber
Georgia Lawyer specializing in DUI, Drug Charges & Criminal Defense