If you were a guest in a house, can you get charged withdrug possession if your were not even present during a raid?

UPDATED: Mar 22, 2011

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If you were a guest in a house, can you get charged withdrug possession if your were not even present during a raid?

My house got raided and my buddy, who has stayed there on occasion but who was not there at the time, now has a warrant for a 5th degree controlled substance. The 2 people on the lease that were there when the house got raided. The guy got charged with nothing and the girl charged with a 1st degree controlled substance. So 1 of them may have said that my friend had been staying there, but how can they convict someone that was not even there (5th degree controlled substance)? I heard something of a Spriegal law? It says that you can be found guilty based on your criminal background.

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

First, you can't be found guilty based on your criminal background--period. A criminal background could affecting sentencing (e.g. under a "three strikes" law) or the willingness to accept a lesser plea bargain by the defendant; it can also be brought up in certain instances to "impeach" the defendant while he's testifying (e.g. if he claimed he's never been in trouble with the law) or to show that he has certain knowledge or connections...however, in and of itself, you cannot be convicted based on a past criminal background.

Second, there is no requirement that someone be present to be found guilty of drug possession. Say that drugs were found in some belongings of his that were there; or a drug container had his name, initials, or fingerprints on it; etc. The issues is whether there is enough evidence to establish the crime, not whether someone was present when a raid occured.

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