Can the owner of a household be penalized if a resident has drugs? 48 Answers as of October 06, 2011

Can the police do anything to the other members of the household?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Yes, under accomplice theories or other types of charges such as maintaining a drug house, property owners may be charged for the alleged narcotic activities of their residents.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/6/2011
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
They could possibly under an accessory or conspiracy theory if the owner knew and was helping them somehow. Other than that, probably not.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
Anyone who is present or had knowledge that drugs are present anywhere at a residence other than on someone's person can be charged with "constructive possession" of any contraband on the legal presumption that that person is either an accomplice or had "dominion and control" over the drugs. Owners and landlords can be charges if they are aware that drugs are being sold or grown at a residence, but probably not if they are simply aware that drugs are at a residence.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/19/2011
Harden Law Offices
Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
The police can charge you if you are aware and or assisted the person In using drugs. All crimes require an intent and if you are unaware the resident has the drugs or it is impossible for police to prove you knew the drugs were present, then you should have a good defense. It is unlikely that the police will charge other members of the household. If you have other questions do not hesitate to contact me. The details can often determine the outcome and whether someone will be charged.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 8/19/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
Everyone in the household could be charged with the offense. Criminal possession of a controlled substance can be sole or joint possession also it can be actual or constructive possession. The defense to the other persons would be that they did not know that the other person had the drugs in the house. Unless you have an admission by the person who possessed the drugs that no one else knew about the drugs getting cleared of this charge can be difficult.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    It depends upon what evidence there is (or isn't) that the other members of the household had knowledge about what was occurring.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Generally not.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Can they arrest you? Yes. Can they charge you? Yes. Can you beat the rap if all you do is own the home? Yes. But it is not cheap, don't expect the DA or the cops to do what is right. While you are innocent until proven guilty, in this case, you may well be assumed guilty by the police and DA who have the power to decide if you are charged with a crime or not.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This depends upon the specific facts of the case. If the owner is aware of the drugs in the home he can be charged.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Yes if it is your home and you knew about the drugs then you can have criminal liability.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Absolutely, especially if the owner knows and does nothing. this is especially true if the person is manufacturing or selling out of the home. The owner could run the risk of a forfeiture action, or the house could even be condemned if it is being used to manufacture, especially methamphetamines.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If the police find drugs in a house they have to prove that they were in possession and control of the person they want to charge. This includes anyone in the house and the owner. If they believe that the house was a drug house then they could cease the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If the contraband is found in a common area which is accessed by others, there is a possibility that any person with legal residence in the home may be charged with possession.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    yes. the owner of property is subject to the forfeiture of property if a nexus between the property and the illicit drugs or drug paraphernalia is shown
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The homeowner could only be charged if the prosecution can prove that he or she "constructively" possessed the drugs. Constructive possession is a theory used by the prosecution when a person is not found to be in actual physical possession of the drugs. The state must prove that the homeowner knowingly possessed the drugs with the resident and that the homeowner knew the the drugs were in fact a prohibited controlled substance. The state would need to establish facts showing that the drugs were found in a location were others had access and that the homeowner knowingly exercised physical control over the drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    If the owner knows about it, possibly. If the owner of the house is totally innocent and unaware of what's going on, he or she will probably not get in trouble.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    I would need further information, such as did the other members of the house know drugs were there etc. There are charges that could be brought against the owner and/or other members of the house depending on all the facts and circumstances which you should tell an attorney that you should hire if you do get charged.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If it can be proven that the owner knew of the existance of the drugs in the home, the owner could be charged too.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If the home is located in a public housing project then the owner can be kicked out of the apartment. If the police believe that the home owner is participating in the drug activity then they can be criminally charged with possession.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    If the owner allowed drug use on his premises, he can be criminally liable.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    I cannot categorically say that the owner cannot, or will not, be "penalized" (do you mean charged with a crime?) if a resident has drugs. Obviously, it depends upon the specific circumstances of this situation. Two people can surely be charged with possession of the same narcotics. On the other hand, if the drugs were your resident's, then you should not cave in to any plea bargain, or even accept Drug Diversion (PC 1000), just because you are eligible. Make the District Attorney prove it!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Only if the DA can prove you knew about the existence of the drugs and you took some sort of legal "control over them".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    It depends, there's no hard and fast rule on such things. If there is evidence (including just testimony) that someone else in the household also possessed the drugs then s/he can be charged. For example, if there is paraphernalia in another room then this might be indicia that someone else was using the drugs as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Possibly. Depends on the facts. What was going on. If just simple possession, nothing. Sales would or could be a different situation. Hire counsel.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    Yes if the owner knew the drugs were present and had access to them.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Generally no, unless the police can establish their complicity in the crime, in some manner. Of course, they would have to establish that the owner had knowledge that the drugs were there.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    I would need more facts. I would say generally no, but if the house is used to sell drugs out of or to manufacture drugs the owner may have problems especially if they had any knowledge or perhaps encouraged these events.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    A homeowner can be an accessory to a possession charge, and could be charged as maintaining a drug house if drugs and knowing stored or sold from the home. These are examples, and I am sure that there are other potential charges. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C.
    Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. | Loren Dickstein
    The other members of the household can be arrested and charged with possession as well. The question is whether they can be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. If another member of the household is charged, will they accept a plea bargain to make the case go away with a good settlement or will he or she stand up and take the case to trial. With a court appointed attorney, probably he or she will be manipulated into a plea. If the owner has knowledge of the drugs, he or she is just as in possession as the tenant who is physically holding the drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Any crime that you could be charged with as the owner of the home would necessarily involve the State proving knowledge on your part. I suggest you consult an experienced Criminal Defense attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Technically no, but possession is often ambiguous, so just being in the same place is trouble.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Watkins Law Office
    Watkins Law Office | Bob Watkins
    They can all be charged with possession of the same quantity of drugs if they have knowledge and mutual access.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Other members of the household can be at risk if it can be proven that they knew the drugs were there and had access to them. It is called "joint possession". (And I don't mean possession of a "joint"). Joint possession means more than one person can possess the same thing at the same time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    It depends on the provable relationship between the people and between the people and the drugs. The question is far too broad for any meaningful response. But there obviously can be joint possessors of drugs, and that is often defined by who is where and when and doing what.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It depends. If they can show that you knew about it and let the drugs be there then you could possibly get in trouble on an aiding and abetting theory.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    If they can prove that the drugs belong to them, yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Yes. Asset forfeiture laws could be used to seize the house or cars involved, criminal conspiracy charges could be brought against everyone involved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Usually, if there is no connection between the drugs and the others in the house, only the one with drugs will face consequences. But, if the drugs are in a common room and they cannot figure whose they are, all can be charged. At trial, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are connected with the drugs - that you knew they were there and you knew what they were and that you had possession or control over them. This can be tough to do.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. The police can claim that they possessed it as well.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    In Washington the crime of unlawful possession of a controlled substance does not require either intent or knowledge, therefore the owner of a residence can be charged even if a guest brings drugs to the residence and the owner is unaware. If so charged, the defendant must use the defense of "unwitting possession".
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    That depends on the legal definition of "possession." Possession includes actual physical possession. Possession also means constructive possession. That is defined as being able to exercise "dominion and control over the drugs". So if the drugs were located in a common area, everybody legally possessed them.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC | Raymond J. Dague
    Strictly speaking, drugs belonging to your roommate are his problem and not yours. But this assumes of course that the police believe you when you say the drugs are his and not yours. And therein lies the rub. If you have a roommate who has drugs in the house, you are running the risk in the event of a bust that the cynical police might not believe your protestations that they are his drugs and not yours. And of course your roommate might say that they are yours and not his. So who will the cops, or the jury believe? Personally I'd find another roommate or another place to live.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Aaronson Law Firm
    Aaronson Law Firm | Michael Aaronson
    The law is clear that others who are charged with drugs must have actual care control custody or management to be found guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    It depends. Drug possession means that a person has the right to control the drugs. That means if you do not have the drugs on your person, but the drugs are in the nightstand or dresser in your bedroom and you are the only occupant, those drugs are likely in your possession. Things become more problematic if drugs are in a part of the house where everyone has accessliving room, kitchen, bathroom, laundryroom, garage, etc. When drugs are found in a common area, there is a larger pool of "suspects", expecially if everyone in the houseuses drugs.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Christopher Lee
    The owner of the household will likely be investigated to determine whether or not he/she is also involved or knew of the drugs inside the home. The other members of the household will likely be questioned to determine their level of involvement and the police will take appropriate action against them depending on what evidence is derived.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    If the drugs are in plain view when the police arrive, anyone in that room will likely get arrested. The police may even arrest everyone in the house.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/17/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    Yes. A person can be charged with possession if they are in dominion and control of the premise wherein drugs are located or if they have exercised dominion and control over the drugs. Lack of knowlege or exclusive possession by another party would be defenses which could be raised to contest the charges but if there are durgs in y or house and you are aware of them, you could be charged with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/17/2011
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