Advice for a i clueless or what???

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by elizzyb, May 5, 2008.

  1. elizzyb

    elizzyb New Member

    My difficult child is my 17 year old step son. We suspect he has conduct disorder but hasn't been diagnosed officially. He's in therapy now, actually, right now its family therapy with a GREAT therapist. She's provided a lot of guidance and support to us. Two weeks ago difficult child broke into a house and got caught, there were aggravating factors that make it a VERY serious legal issue. He hasn't been charged officially. We went to a lawyer who said if its stays in juvy that would be the best but difficult child turns in 18 in 9 days, and they may be waiting to charge him as an adult. Now we know he's been using pot, this weekend we found it in his room. Essentially he's just gotten more and more defiant and troubled since last October.

    My questions are: 1) do we dish out the $4000 for an attorney to make sure he gets charged as a juvy or let be what will be?

    2) since we've gotten him help, the counselor, the attorney, community service, his attitude has gotten WAY worse. He's now MORE defiant with us. How do we manage that?

    We're trying to help him but are we just being too kind?
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi there, and welcome to the board. You found a soft place to land.

    Wow, that is a very tough spot that you are in. 18 years old in 9 days, quite a conundrum.

    I really do not know what I would do in your situation! I'm sure I would want to do everything I could to help my kid, but them to shell out that kind of money only for him/her to do something worse right after turning 18 would just tick me right off. Detaching has to come at some time, but the child is not there yet...grrr, you just want to get into their head and find out what makes them tick, right?

    Tell you what I would do. Repost this in the Parent Emetrius forum. There is a lot more traffic there, a lot more warrior moms on that board. You might get a lot better advice there.

    Know that you are not alone! Again, welcome.
  3. ChefPaula1965

    ChefPaula1965 Oh my aching back!!

    Ok, well first of all welcome!!
    you have landed in a safe place...
    you have several issues going...
    your son might have access to an attorney through the court system..
    I am so sorry you are going throughthis.. I know first hand that this is horrible..
    Take a deep breath hon.... and find out what you feel you need to do...
    from personal experience I would say that you need to use much "detachment" here... your difficult child needs to know that there are consequences for his behavior... not knowing much history I will assume that he "knows better"...
    Personally, I would not pay the lawyer.. but having more info on the past of your difficult child would be more helpful in helping you..
    thanks,, and good luck paula
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    You are not clueless. You have done all you can. Unfortunately, for many of our children we have to stand by and watch them destroy themselves before they begin to crawl out the hole they have dug for themselves. In my home, we do not pay for an attorney's services unless you have been wrongfully accused and we are 100 % certain of that fact. If you committ a crime, you have to face the consequences----
  5. ChefPaula1965

    ChefPaula1965 Oh my aching back!!

    Ela, you are so strong!!!
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I don't think he can be charged as an 18 yr old if he was only 17 at the time of the crime? It is the facts at the moment of the crime that should be taken into account. If he is charged at the higher level, it would be because of past record. They may be able to charge him as an adult today - it is based on the degree of the crime, not waiting until he is actually 18 before charges are filed.

    I would think his attorney is to fight tooth and nail for HIM not based on how much money you will give. Give me more money and I will keep him safer? I don't think so. My instincts would be no extra monies and if the attorney does his job well, the right thing will be done.

    The prosecutors will make a case where they want him charged. Your attorney should defend him and request juvy based on evidence, not on an extra $4000.
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    To me, a lot would be depend on good the PDs are where you live. Another factor would be my child's behavior -- showing remorse, trying to do the right thing now, following house rules, etc. I'd be much more inclined to help my child if my child showed that that help was wanted. From what you've said, that is not the case. He may be acting out of fear. In case he is, I'd sit down and have a long talk with him, explaining that if he wants your help, he needs to can the attitude and start trying to do the right thing as much as possible.

    The marijuana in your home is another issue. I'd be explaining in graphic terms that if he ever brought any dope into MY home again, he'd be on the street so fast his head would be swimming. No way would he jeopardize something I had worked hard for so that he could have his fun. He wants to use dope, he can use it elsewhere, store it elsewhere, but nothing -- not a pipe, not a match, not a seed -- in the home.

    You may have been blindsided, but that doesn't make you clueless. Clueless would be if you didn't think your son had problems, if you hadn't found the dope, if you weren't worried now.
  8. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    In many states 17 is the age of legality when it comes to criminal activity. If the courts choose to charge him as an adult, they can. Even if he has 11 months and 29 days until his birthday.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Yep - What I was trying to say is that they can not wait until he is 18 years old and then charge him as if he was 18 on the day of the crime. Some crimes go down to 14 years to be charged as an adult. I don't think they are intentionally waiting until he is 18 to charge him. I am just having a hard time saying what I am thinking.
  10. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    Hi elizzyb,
    welcome to conduct disorders. so sorry you are having trouble with- a child that led you here. You will get great advice here from moms who have been through just about everything.

    My first thought that pops in my head in regards to your son is, is he using harder drugs than pot? Stealing is a major red flag for hard drug use and you can assume that if he was breaking and entering a house, he was looking to steal something. His defiant and troubled behavior is a red flag also.

    Read this link that lists the top signs your teen is using drugs. (your sons behavior could be just from the pot, but when things are very bad, you may want to consider that he may be using more)
  11. Tezzie

    Tezzie Member


    Sorry to hear about your problems. Having lived with a male difficult child for almost 17 years, we have learned to live with "natural consequences" which may mean charges filed, etc. At least he can still be treated as a juvenile. In our state, once you turn 17, you are treated as an adult for court/legal issues. My son turns 17 on Saturday & is has him a bit nervous. (which is good, it may be a strong motivator for good behavior).

    Good luck with your difficult child & lots of hugs.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If 18 is the adult limit...he is lucky. In NC its 16. I know we wouldnt hire the lawyer simply because we couldnt. Our son has had to live with public defenders.
  13. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm struggling with the lawyer issue right now too. Every attorney I called (except the one I hired) said to go for PCOV, i.e. probation without verdict, for the marijuana possession and paraphernalia charges. They said difficult child would have to plead guilty, but would be put on probation for a year. If he stayed out of trouble for the year, the entire record would be thrown out. Oh, and he would have to get a letter from a doctor stating that he's a drug addict. Only the attorney I hired said anything about police procedures or about actually representing difficult child. All of the attorneys had a flat fee for the PCOV thing; ours then adds another $1500 for litigating, i.e. fighting the charges.

    The only problem now is that I'm wondering if we should even fight the charges. If difficult child walks away from this with charges dismissed, it won't be good for his attitude. He's already started getting angry at me, blaming me, twisting everything so that he can view himself as a victim, etc. Sounds something like what you're experiencing. Maybe we shouldn't try so hard to fight for them ...?