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If you uncover criminal activity in a civil case, will those who committed the criminal acts be prosecuted criminally also?

Concord, CA |

I am doing an eviction on my roommates for drug use and possession with intent to distribute, but because they have made my life a living hell, I am also interested in getting them criminally prosecuted. One of them is on social security and uses his welfare money to buy marijuana. He got a card, but there was a time when he was doing it without a card. Also, I have proof that he gives marijuana away and/or sells it. I do not like the idea of my tax dollars buying his drugs. How would I get him criminally prosecuted? I think his social security claim is bogus and think he needs to get off welfare to straighten his life around. As a civilian, how can I even initiate criminal charges?

I have proof that he broke the law in the past via witnesses and recorded conversations (text messages), but his medical marijuana card is current. I am not sure if he keeps drugs at the residence anymore, and so I am not sure if calling the police would do anything since they cannot catch him breaking the law in the present.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Contact the police or district attorney's office.

I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.

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Posted

Sounds like you're making some assumptions about your tenant and trying to impose your moral and political views upon him. Give him a break. Isn't kicking him out on the street enough? FYI,, you're asking your question to an audience primarily comprised of criminal defense attorneys.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Assumptions? No. I saw him get my best friend really high and then take advantage of her. I saw him stoned out of his mind for about a week straight and he's a cruel and vicious person who attempted to turn my house into a drug house. I'm not okay with that. I'm also not okay with paying taxes so that I can support somebody's drug habit. He is such a frightening and sadistic sociopath that even though it's my house, I am afraid to live here until he is gone. He has purposely delayed the eviction process, and kept me out of my home for two months. Everybody makes mistakes, but this person is malicious. Believe me, I would have given him a break if he had given me a break, or had any capacity to understand right from wrong. And these aren't "moral and political views". It's the law. The law is very clear on drug use, especially with regards to providing drugs to others. As an attorney, you should know that.

Asker

Posted

If people are going to do drugs and not bother others, then I am even willing to look the other way. But his activities have interfered with my life as well as the lives of others. That's why I want to prosecute. That's the difference between imposing my morals on others, and imposing the laws on others. He is not just my tenant. He is my roommate. Maybe I should have made that clearer. And even if he weren't my roommate, if I am renting a property to a drug dealer, I could face monetary or other liability. These are all good reasons to prosecute.

Posted

The only ones who decide on criminal prosecution are the prosecutors. They make those decisions based upon the strength of the case, the wrongfulness of the conduct, the type of crime, and the other demands on their time. You can report the conduct you've observed and suspect, but be aware that false accusations can result in charges against the accuser. (I am not implying that you would do this.)

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DISCLAIMER:

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum.

I am an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these Internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This Internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged.

If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.

There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. Those facts should not be put on a public Internet site.

Most questions are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Few, if any, legal matters should be handled via Internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. See “more” link below for more.

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.

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Posted

Criminal activity is prosecuted by the Office of the District Attorney after they receive information from the police that offers a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial.

I would caution against using any threats of criminal prosecution to gain a tactical advantage in any civil matter, including eviction proceedings. In fact, I would more than caution against it. You should not use any threat of criminal prosecution to gain a tactical advantage in a civil suit, period. I cannot state that strongly enough.

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8 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you. I appreciate the advice. I only threatened him with criminal prosecution because I am afraid of him and it was the only thing that I could think of to get him to back off of me. I do have proof that he engaged in activites that constitute a felony, but that was an act that occurred about two months ago. It would help me in my civil suit, I believe, but obviously I don't desire to press criminal charges unless my civil suit doesn't go through, in which case I would only want criminal charges because I am afraid of him, afraid of a repeat offense, and afraid for my safety. I am not sure if I have enough evidence to get a restraining order, however, which is even scarier.

Amber H Lunsford

Amber H Lunsford

Posted

the criminal justice system is no place to play out private squabbles. If you believe there is criminal activity, report it to the proper authorities. Never use it as leverage, as a way to advance a civil case, or as a back up plan. If you are afraid, call the authorities. Seek a restraining order. The very worst thing that could happen is it gets denied and then you're in the very same spot you are now.

Asker

Posted

I will admit that I got in over my head with the criminal charges. I am just not familiar with how the system works. They were trying to pin false criminal charges on me for attempting to do perfectly legal things, like collect late rent, which is how this got started. I respect that I don't have the authority for anything related to criminal law, so I thank you for the advice on that. How would I then rebut the assertion of false criminal charges against me if they be laid out in a court of law? (Sorry, I guess this is a second question).

Amber H Lunsford

Amber H Lunsford

Posted

If you are facing criminal charges (whether they are provable or not) you need to speak with and hire a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in presenting the best defense applicable in your case. You should hire someone you feel comfortable with and can be completely candid with. I would also advise you to focus on your case rather than threatening anyone. If this person is a witness against you in the case, you may be engaging in witness intimidation, which is a very serious charge. You need to speak with an attorney sooner rather than later. Find out what your rights are, find out what defenses are available to you, find out if there is any conduct that you need to stop doing, and what steps to take next.

Asker

Posted

I am pretty sure that she has no case against me. It's just harassment, madam. She's blackmailing me. Period. I'm just a little miffed that you would warn me against filing criminal charges against someone and at the same time think I would need to hire a criminal defense lawyer. I mean.... I didn't do anything wrong, so there's no evidence against me at all. She just keeps calling the police and filing false charges. I want to press charges of malicious prosecution if she tries to take me to court again. She is a criminal and she has committed three felonies in the course of living at my house, including fraud, perjury, and drugs. What she is trying to charge me for is non-existent, speculative, and she was probably so stoned that she imagined it in any case. How could she press criminal charges? I've done nothing. Hire a criminal defense lawyer? If it is so hard for me to press charges for the three felonies that she's committed, then how in the **** is she going to prosecute me for what I didnt' even do?

Asker

Posted

Okay, nevermind, I get it. You don't know all of the facts. So thank you in any capacity. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful for your expertise.

Amber H Lunsford

Amber H Lunsford

Posted

I think you may be misunderstanding the process. The only way criminal charges ever get filed against anyone in a superior court is through the office of the district attorney. The district attorney receives information from the police department and makes an evaluation as to whether to bring a case or not. Ideally, this should be based on there being any reasonable lilelihood of conviction by jury, though it sometimes seems that they ignore this maxim. The District Attorney works for the People of the State of California. When a criminal case is filed, it is titles The People of the State of California vs. Unlucky defendant's name here. The offense is prosecuted as an offense against the People of the State of California. The case is not titled Mary vs. John, as it is in civil court and victims do not decide whether charges are brought or not. As you may note, I told you to contact the police if you felt that you were in danger or there was criminal activity.

Asker

Posted

Okay. Thank you. I understand now. Okay, well... if she tries to file a criminal case because I got angry and threw around some garbage, that's silly. She's claiming that I'm a dangerous person, even though I have been indigent from my house due to fear, and she has been living there and giggling like a narcissistic sociopath trying to use the law to scare me out of doing things. You're right. I don't understand the process that well. I'm just figuring it out now thanks to your help. *sweat droplet*

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