You might be asking yourself how someone could possibly be charged with a crime just by mere presence. But the truth is, crimes do exist that allows law enforcement to arrest anyone in a “Place of Common Nuisance.” And the charge? It’s called “Visiting a Common Nuisance.” There is even a crime called “Maintaining a Common Nuisance.” Confused? Don’t worry. Continue reading to learn what these charges mean, and how to avoid them for the sake of your safety and reputation.

A Place of Common Nuisance (PCN)

A place of common nuisance is any private property where illegal activity is taking place. This can be a house, boat, vehicle, apartment, hotel room, or any other private residence. The most frequent crimes that occur in this situation include the consumption and selling of illegal substances and paraphernalia. This includes street drugs, stolen merchandise, firearms, and medication.

Visiting a Common Nuisance (VCN)

Anyone person that knowingly visits a PCN is committing a crime, and if caught, can be charged with “visiting a common nuisance.” Here’s an example of a situation where a person can be arrested and charged with this crime, without actually taking part in the illegal activity:

Rachel is on vacation in New York City with her best friend, Ann. While out on the town celebrating, they meet a group of guys who invite them back to their place for a drink. When the girls walk into the apartment, they immediately notice some guns on the counter, and some drugs laying out on the table. They decide to stay and have a few drinks, even though they do not like guns or use drugs. After a few drinks, the guys start smoking marijuana and the cops get called. Even though Rachel and Ann did not partake in the marijuana usage, and do not own the guns, they can be arrested and charged for VCN.

Maintaining a Common Nuisance (MCN)

If a person allows someone, or a group of people, to use drugs or partake in any illegal activity in their own home or vehicle, they can be charged with MCN. For instance, if a girl lets her friend shoot up heroin in her apartment, she could be arrested and charged with this crime. The same applies to parents who allow their children to drink underage or use drugs in their home. In this situation, everyone will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer.