Social Question

synapse's avatar

If my roommate is openly selling weed, can I be arrested just because I live in the other part of the house?

Asked by synapse (433points) July 11th, 2016

as stated

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15 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, you can, but it is a harder case for them to prove.

When someone is dealing out of a house, and the house gets busted, everyone inside gets arrested, and it gets sorted out later after booking and often after initial arraignment and bail. If you have any weed in your room or in common areas, you may be considered a participant.

Differences in State Law may also play a factor. But anything on the premises, including vehicles, is subject to forfeiture.

You might want to check with a lawyer on what your risks are.

CWOTUS's avatar

You can “be arrested” for nearly anything at all that the police (or the prosecutor) think that they can make a case for. In fact, sometimes arrests are made in the expectation that the arrested person can help build the case that the prosecutor really wants to make … against another person. And having you facing a likely trial – and its attendant embarrassment, aggravation and inconvenience – not to mention the expense, if you have the means to defend yourself! – could make you more compliant in that endeavor.

I’m not saying that’s entirely ethical on the part of a prosecutor, but on the other hand, it’s not the best ethical practice to be knowingly enabling criminal activity in the house you live in, either, is it? That’s just reality.

You can reduce your legal risk by informing on the criminal activity. That makes you a witness, rather than an accomplice. (I’m not saying that’s entirely ethical, either, especially if you feel like drug laws are unethical to begin with.) Obviously, aside from how that makes you feel about yourself – because who wants to inform the police on one’s roommate, after all? – but it also exposes you to the very real potential of criminal reprisal from the roommate. That’s not a good place to be, either.

So it might be best to simply have a conversation with the other party, telling them that you know what they’re doing, because it’s in the open, and you’re concerned about the legal bind you’re in because of their criminal activity in the shared house. I would suggest telling them that you have not informed on them and have no intention of doing so, but the quid pro quo for your silence should be that they must agree to refrain from carrying on the criminal activity in the house. That is, no storage of the drugs on the premises, no sales or use of the drugs in the house, either. Assuming they’re making enough from the endeavor to make it worthwhile to continue despite the legal risk, then they should also find a place to do it that doesn’t involve you. And if it costs too much for them to make some alternate arrangements, then maybe you could talk them out of doing it altogether. After all, why break the law and run those kinds of risks for nickels and dimes?

What they do and where (else) they do it is no concern of yours, but you can’t allow the business to be carried on openly – that is, with your knowledge – in the house. Now, if they agree to your demands and then conduct the business surreptitiously (and still in the house), but you don’t know about it (and I mean really don’t know about it, not “pretend not to know”), then your hands are clean.

But you can still be arrested, even so.

synapse's avatar

I would not have a problem informing on this jerk who turned the electricity off in my room today. He’s not intelligent and a convicted felon which I did not know when I signed the lease. When I found out, I asked the agent for the property manager and she stated she didn’t know he was an ex-con either. Just feel there should have been disclosure…

synapse's avatar

and yes, I’ll be out asap

rojo's avatar

As @zenvelo said, you can be and it would be a harder case to prove but that does not mean it would not screw your life up for a long time. If this is something that seriously concerns you then you need to do something about it quickly. Either give him an ultimatum to quit and make certain he follows through or get the fuck out of Dodge. You do not need this kind of grief.
Unlike @synapse I would not turn him in but I would for certain distance myself from any activity that would get me busted.

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Buttonstc's avatar

At least you know that breaking the lease won’t be a problem since he doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on.

I must say I am a bit surprised that you signed a lease for a house share. It’s usually a verbal type of thing.

synapse's avatar

He does not own the home. The lease is in both of our names.

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s unfortunate. But presumably the owner cannot penalize you for allowing illegal activity on his premises. After all, it’s ultimately his responsibility.

Is he aware of what is going on? If not, perhaps if he were aware, he could evict the roommate thus sparing you some grief.

He certainly cannot allow it to continue and to have you put at risk of serious problems with the law.

Which country are you in, if you don’t mind my asking?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@zenvelo “When someone is dealing out of a house, and the house gets busted, everyone inside gets arrested, and it gets sorted out later after booking and often after initial arraignment and bail.”

I happen know from first hand experience that ain’t necessarily true. Granted, it’s probably the case more often than not, but it’s not a rule, it’s a discretionary thing.


You’ve informed the property manager. That establishes that you’re not involved in, and opposed to this particularly activity. The problem will likely resolve itself soon for you as the management now has grounds to evict your roommate.

jca's avatar

I’d rather move out first if I were you. What says the roomie won’t move out but leave “something” and then call the cops on you, just to get revenge? As they say, “possession is 9/10ths of the law.”

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

GET OUT NOW. If you haven’t thousands available for a decent defense attorney, you are looking at living the rest of your life as a convicted felon. You buy justice in this country. GET OUT.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Get out. The police can and will confiscate anything of value in the house. (The law in my state is strict). Notify the property management company and the legal authorities of what is going on.
It is considered “maintaining a residence for distribution of drugs.” anything including cars, flat screen TV’s and stereos have been taken, you could get your stuff back if you can show receipts and have a lawyer.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes. Move. Today.

SmartAZ's avatar

Why bother asking? The rule in this case is “Don’t argue with weather. Just get out of it.”

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