Law Question: I own a trailer, and I rent a space in the back property of a house. I have become aware that there is some marijuana growing in the main house, which I will only go into to do my laundry. Marijuana is also sold in the house, as well as prescription pills. It’s not a big operation, not a lot of traffic, but it’s illegal none the less. I do not use drugs, and do not hang out with those that do. However, I do have a criminal history dating back years ago and served prison time for some charges related and not related to the activity going on in this house. I am very concerned. If the house should be alerted to law enforcement, can I be held responsible or charged for this activity?
HBLC Law Answer: Knowing and participating are different things. As long as you are not participating in their activities, legally you are not liable. But as you say, you have some negative factors against you and doubtless law enforcement will draw negative conclusions if you are there when they come to arrest the people involved in the illegal drug activity. If you are in that house when the bust comes, you’re going to be arrested. And even though you may ultimately be found without fault, you will be entangled in the system, with all the expenses that entails. To be safe, you should probably find another place to live and never go into that house; keep yourself distant from them, their activities, and the house where this is going on. You are accepting the risk of being found complicit in the activities of your neighbors by staying there. If you don’t want to report their illegal activities to the police, your only options are to remain there knowing the risk to yourself, or move.