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If Roommate Sells Drugs, Can You Get Arrested?

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 21, 2013 6:55 AM

What should you do if your roommate is selling drugs? If he gets caught, can you also get arrested just for living under the same roof?

When it comes to illegal drugs, there are legal and practical concerns. Depending on your level of knowledge or involvement in your roommate's dealings, you could potentially be at risk of facing criminal charges.

Each situation is unique, but generally speaking, here's what you need to be worried about:

Potential Legal Problems

For starters, you can worry about your home and possessions being searched if the cops ever come in and sweep the place.

And don't be surprised if you find yourself in handcuffs. While the drugs that were lying around may not have been yours and you might try to proclaim your ignorance, you may still have to prove that in court.

And besides, there's something called constructive possession, which means you had some sort of control over the place where the drugs were found. So if drugs are lying around in a common area controlled by everyone, and not locked away in your roommate's room, you could potentially face charges of drug possession.

What if you go a step further and help your roommate hide his stash, or even go out on a pickup or delivery run with him? That may just be enough for prosecutors to charge you with criminal conspiracy to deal drugs as well.

What Can You Do?

As easy as it is to turn a blind eye to a roommate who deals drugs, you need to be smart and you need to be strategic. You want to protect yourself legally. You also want to protect yourself physically, if there's any possibility of violence.

If it's safe to do so in your situation, you can consider informing your landlord or calling the police. A more low-key option would be to just move out, which may be a tough decision if you're currently getting a great deal on rent. But it's not worth any amount of money to stay in a situation in which you could potentially get into trouble.

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