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

Asked about 2 years ago - 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?

Additional information

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)

  1. Peter D. King

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  2. Amber H Lunsford

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . 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.

  3. Joseph A Lo Piccolo

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  4. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . 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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