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wgallios's avatar

Are you liable if someone overdoses in your house?

Asked by wgallios (1768 points ) October 6th, 2010

I don’t support illegal drug use or anything like that, nor do I use them. But I was just curious, what if someone came over to your house (that you own), brought some illegal drugs with them, took it, and overdosed. Would you be liable?

What if you supplied the drugs? What if they have a prescription for that drug?

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14 Answers

Zyx's avatar

I don’t know about insane Ameircan drug laws but this seems very unlikely. Drug convictions are on posession and smuggling so if it’s clear you had nothing to do with the drugs I’d say you’re safe. Supplying illigal drugs will get you thrown in jail, yes… Didn’t you know this? What exactly do you mean by liable? I’m confused now.

You might have to be careful not to get an obstruction of justice charge.

wgallios's avatar

@Zyx By liable I mean, say what if the person died who brought over the drugs, could you be sued because it happened on your property? would you be liable for what happened?

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think you would be liable for the overdose if you had no idea what was going on. I think that if you supplied the drugs, you’d be on the hook for that. If they had a prescription, then you don’t think you’d be liable.

Think about the two folks who streamed the video of a roommate having sex with another man. The guy who was videoed committed suicide. The prosecutors can only charge them with illegal surveillance. They can’t get them for anything related to the death, because it was death at the person’s own hand.

stardust's avatar

I don’t see why. Mind you, if you supplied the drugs, then I’m sure you’d be punished in some way.

downtide's avatar

There was a famous case about this in the UK when Michael Barrymore (a British celebrity) was charged following the overdose & death of Stephen Lubbock, a guest at a party he was hosting. In the end the charges were thrown out and he was found not liable.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2006/02/10/barrymore-prosecution-blocked-115875-16689530/

cazzie's avatar

@downtide and he moved to New Zealand to try to find a quieter life.

trailsillustrated's avatar

not really but you would be really, really intensely questioned and your house would be searched, and you might be taken to jail for a night. You would continue to have ‘visits’ by police officers for weeks afterwards, and probably get pulled over by them on your way to and from your house in the weeks afterwards.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d think you could be in a world full of trouble. First you’d have to prove to the law that you knew absolutely nothing about the drugs while they attempt to sieze your property and charge you for crimes. Then the OD’s family could come after you in the civil system with a lot lower standard of proof needed to establish your responsibility.

downtide's avatar

@trailsillustrated Barrymore had this thing hanging over him for about 5 years.

@cazzie he couldn’t get work in the UK after that. Does he work on TV in NZ?

cazzie's avatar

@downtide I’m not sure.. but I sent him a personal letter. I thought the whole thing, and the way he was treated, was horrible. I left not long after he took up residence. You could have a look under TV3 or TVNZ.

CMaz's avatar

If you were not involved and did all you could to help no.

But, your liability would be the cleaning on the body juices off the floor.

alovehangoverr's avatar

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be liable.

I think you might be held partly responsible if you supplied the drugs.. but you honestly can’t control people overdosing on drugs. That’s all on them.

Flavio's avatar

it depends on how much you know. You likely would not be sued, but you could be criminally complicit in causing a death.

meiosis's avatar

In the UK, there is a crime of “Allowing premises to be used for drug related activities”, for which the maximum sentence is 14 years imprisonment. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution has to prove that the householder knew that illegal drug activity was taking place and took no steps to prevent it. You can see sentencing guidelines here.

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