Legal Question in Criminal Law in North Carolina


I live in Georgia but own property in North Carolina that I am renting to a man I'll call "Sam". I received calls last week from 2 different individuals that live in the same community as my tenant. These individuals are pillars of the community and good friends of mine. They called to tell me that they heard that Sam was growing marijuana on my property.

I called the sheriff's department in that county and told them what I had heard. I told them that I didn't know if the rumors were true or false. A detective at the sheriff's department went to the property yesterday to check it out and Sam was arrested for "manufacturing an illegal substance".

Sam was arrested yesterday but this evening he is at home. He called to tell me that the charges are going to be dropped and that he is suing me for filing a false report.

Why would he have been arrested if no drugs were found? If drugs were found, why would the charges be dropped?

Thanks for helping.

Asked on 7/26/11, 6:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

People can be arrested for all kinds of reasons. The arrest means nothing. Either one of two things happened: (1) the substance that was being grown looked like a drug but testing showed that it wasn't (the police are not scientists - their job is to arrest first and ask questions later); or (2) Sam has friends in high places who got this kicked out.

Dropping the charges is not a surprise either. The district attorney can decide whether he wants to prosecute - maybe its a weak case, maybe the prosecutor does not want to mess with it, maybe there is a problem with the evidence (it could have been suppressed as it was seized illegally or else the police violated Sam's rights in some other way) or maybe testing showed that the substance was not contraband and that nothing illegal was done.

Maybe you need to re-evaluate your friends. While its nice they are looking out for your interest, its none of their damn business and personally, they seem like nosy Gladys Kravitz-types who are spying on their neighbors. These types of people will be the first ones to turn their neighbors in to the "fusion" centers and the Infra-Guard centers set up.

Maybe the guy was minding his own business and growing something legal and your friends well-meaningly but erroneously thought it was marijuana? If that is the case, then your "friends" caused a whole lot of aggravation for poor Sam needlessly.

If Sam sues you and your friends civilly for malicious prosecution, then you and your friends will have to defend against it. False reports is a crime - I don't think the police will charge you with intentionally filing a false police report.

Next time though, don't rely on your friends. Check it out for yourself and speak to your tenant before you go giving the police hearsay within hearsay.

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Answered on 7/27/11, 10:34 am

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