My apartment roommate smokes pot, but I don’t. Can I get in trouble because of his pot smoking?

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My apartment roommate smokes pot, but I don’t. Can I get in trouble because of his pot smoking?

I live in an apartment complex with a marijuana-smoking roommate. I do not smoke. I have told him to stop because I can be charged with possession because we both signed the lease. If I am charged, I will lose my job and will have to pay my loans back. Can I get into legal trouble if I claim that his habit was unknown to me? Is a complaint from a neighbor enough probable cause for the police to enter the apartment? Do I have to let the police enter my apartment?

Asked on April 12, 2009 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

It would be difficult to claim that you did not know that your roommate smoked pot since it can be assumed that you could smell the smoke in such close proximity to him.

The police can enter your apartment if they have probable cause. It depends on what the neighbor says in his/her complaint: did he/she actually see your roommate smoke pot; are there many people coming to your apartment at all hours of the day and night to suggest pot parties or drug dealing; does your roommate appear to be high in public? The neighbor can't just say that he/she thinks there is pot smoking in the apartment.


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