In a perfect world, we would all have our own apartment or even house and not have to depend on others to help us pay the rent. Unfortunately, with housing costs being what they are, many people have to share living quarters with others. When a roommate is dependable and well-behaved, this arrangement can work out very well.

Unfortunately, you may at some point find yourself living with someone who is prone to getting into trouble with the law. And if that person is dealing drugs, you could be implicated in his or her illegal activities.

So, what is your possible legal exposure if your roommate is arrested for selling drugs out of your shared dwelling? Well, more than you may realize. You see, even if you were not involved in the sale or use of the drugs, you could still face criminal charges.

If you are arrested along with your roommate, you could be prosecuted under a principle known as “constructive possession,” which means you are complicit because you had some measure of control over the area in which the drugs were located. In other words, if the drugs were found splayed about in the living room or some other common area, rather than locked away in your roommate’s room, you may be implicated.

Likewise, if you do anything to help your roommate hide the drugs from the authorities, you could be charged with criminal conspiracy to sell drugs. So, from a legal standpoint, your best play when you live with a dealer is to either turn him or her into the authorities or to simply move out and leave the situation behind. But whatever choice you make, you should make your personal safety a priority.

If you should be arrested on drug charges stemming from the actions of your roommate or anyone else with whom you live, it is critical that you start building a strong defense as soon as possible. An experienced drug crimes attorney can help protect your rights and advise you on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.