How much money = felony?

Old 01-11-2008, 04:45 PM
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How much money = felony?

My son relapsed when he lost his job, been living here and relapsing every chance he gets. I can't kick him out in the cold to die, but I would like to call the police and press charges for the money he has stolen from us.
That way, he'd end up in jail with help available.
But I'm not sure what the amount is that I would have to say he stole. In the last month, he actually stole about $600. But he's stolen much more last year.
I'm in NJ, if that helps, anyone know if this will work?
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:58 PM
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Barb, forgive me for shooting straight here, but am I understanding that you want to put him in that he would have help available?

The thing is, if he wants help he'll get it but if he doesn't, even jail isn't going to make him.

Help is available to him now, AA, NA, detox, rehabs, and I'm sure he has people he can call from the days he was clean, yes? He won't die from the cold if you throw him out, he'll just find another place to stay or a shelter. We don't have to be their only option, especially when they are active in their disease and bring chaos into our homes. They can find a way to get drugs, they can find a way to find shelter too.

Now if you want to lay charges for something he did so he will learn about consequences, by all means do that, but if your motive is simply to make him get help, maybe think again.

How have you been? Have you made it to any meetings yet? I know that when I was having the codependency crazies over my son that meetings really helped me to get myself grounded and let go of his addiction and recovery. It's sad and it's hard to do, but in the end it's the only thing that saved my sanity.

Prayers going out for your boy.

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Old 01-11-2008, 05:02 PM
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I really don't know what constitutes a felony but can you prove that he stole the money. By that I mean did he take it from an ATM where they might have videos or did he cash checks that you can get or was it just $20 here and there which is much harder to prove. You say that you don't want to kick him out because he will die, but the truth is that if he is living with you and able to steal that kind of money the chances are he could die under your roof. I know that you are desperate to help your son and I have been there with my daughter. Two years ago I was sure that she was going to die if she did not get help but yet she is still going strong (DOC heroin). We never know when or if addiction is going to take our children. Going to jail may stop him for the short term but if he is not ready to quit he will just continue once he is out. He has to want to get better. He did for a while and he knows what that feels like. Prayers that he will want to get clean again. Hugs, Marle
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:04 PM
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Barb - sorry for the situation he's put you in, you must be dealing with some tough decisions at the moment.

I have a lawyer buddy from college and I always bookmark the weird cases and links he sends me.

It looks like over $500 in NJ, it's a felony, up to five years in prison.

I hope everything gets better for you.

Last edited by Ann; 01-11-2008 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Link to commercial site removed
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:20 PM
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Allowing him to live in your house and live in his disease is really the debate.
Allowing him to live there knowing he did and will steal from you again is the debate.
What are you willing to tolerate and what is in your best interest?
If you call the police at best they will make a police report and it will get bumped to D.A. office to decide if they want to prosecute at some later date. They will most likely see it as a family matter. So that is prob. the best place to start, the family matter.
There are several of us posting here with this struggle to Let Go.
I am kicking my son out soon. He has no job but I can no longer enable him to ride that train from my house. He may decide to go to rehab but if he doesn't he is choosing the curb. Sending support your way as you figure out what is the best scenerio to take place at your home.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:26 PM
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He has no one

I cannot put him out on the streets in 10 degree weather with no car and no one that would even consider taking him in. I almost lost him a year ago to a bad case of was what got him clean. For nine months, lived in an Oxford house.
So I told him to live here he only had two choices..don't do crack, or I call the cops and have you arrested for felony theft. At least he won't die the first night from frostbite. Leaving here to live on the streets was not even an option.
Now I just have to figure out if my threat is workable. Prison for felony theft and yes, got him taking it from MAC machines, even got him forging a check on surveillence tape.
Thx for advice! Barb
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:29 PM
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we did press charges with my daughter when she was living here and stealing. I hope you do decide to press charges. They need to be held accountable. My AD still seems to think its kinda sorta OK to steal from your own family - what a load of crap! Its worse to steal from your own family because it is also a betrayal. but by not pressing charges you are reinforcing this idea that its really OK. Consequences are just what he needs, she needs - what they all need to realize that addiction is a nasty, unhappy business. Plus, do you really want to continue to be robbed??
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:35 PM
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good advise ahead of me. i am sending up prayers for you & your daughter. you can never get enough of them. hugs,
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:52 PM
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I think the question here is what are your boundaries?

For me, setting boundaries didn't come quicky or easily. But once I realized that I was enabling my daughter to stay in her addiction when I did not set them, I stepped up to the plate. It wasn't easy, but I finally realized that I did NOT have to accept unacceptable behavior in my home.

And trust me, your son is resourceful. He's landed on his feet time after time, and some of those times you've helped him, Bardee. I recognize that behavior because I was one of those that did the same thing. I rescued or provided a comfortable place to live for my AD. All that did was help her continue to use. Heck, why should she want to change? She had it made in he shade....a warm, nice place to live while she used with no consequences! As my sponsor told me, "Gee, Hangin', this is a user's dream!"

My AD's life began to turn around when I got out of the way, when I quit cushioning her falls, when I let her have the dignity to live her own life, no matter how bad her decisions were.

Maybe think of it this way. Would you let anyone else live in your house and behave in this way?

And if you haven't been doing meetings, Bardee, now would be a good time to find one. Meetings are where I learned how to set the boundaries that were so necessary for me to have some peace in my life.

Prayers for you and your son,
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:04 PM
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Hiya Barbdee,
Well, the bottom line is nothing changes, if nothing changes. He has a warm soft place to fall...that would be you, so why bother trying to attempt sobriety?

The time just has to come, where we put up a real boundary that says I will not tolerate your abusing yourself, and your family, and give him a week to find other lodging.

Otherwise this may be your life for a LONG time.

Hugs from one mom to another...
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:05 PM
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who says if you kick him out he will die?

He might just how to live.

Enabling addiction surely wont help him get sober.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:30 PM
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hi barb, i know it may sound cruel to you. but u can look at it like this if he stays with u you know he may end up having a heart attack from using cuz u know he wont stop at your house or you can tell him he has to leave where he MAY get pneumonia, if he chooses to literally sleep out on the streets. Shelters programs and rehabs are very warm. Consider giving him 2 weeks to set something up, that way it is his lack of finding a place that causes him to be "out in the cold" rather than you feeling like its your fault he has no place. It will then be HIS fault. I understand how you want to find a place for him before you tell him to leave but that is his job as an adult to do. Its very hard for us to make our addicts do what we want them to do.Like i always say: you can bring a horse to water but you can not make them drink. Best wishes and hope for you barb.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:32 PM
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Sorry your going through this again... Do the jails there offer any kind of rehab programs? Ours here don't,but I know some do... It's hard for you either way you go. Are there any homeless shelters near by you could take him too.
We didn't press charges against our AD, simply because we were not strong enough to do so. Good luck sending prayers for you an your son.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:32 PM
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Barbdee View Post
Now I just have to figure out if my threat is workable.
No threat is ever workable.
Boundaries and following through with what we say are the only things that are workable.
We can NOT control others. When people tried it with me, I changed gears and looked for ways around what ever they were doing. Not until my issues were put in my lap for me to deal with did I even think about starting to look for answers.

Till you let go, he will continue.

Put me in the street and I will find a way to get through the night. Oxford house and Salvation Army are still around.
Let me stay in your nice warm house at no cost...I have no need to seek improvement of myself.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:56 PM
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Great advice before me!

All I can tell you is that when I had had enough of my AD's lying, choas, and drama and it was negatively affecting me and the rest of my family and she was NOT caring one bit about the injury she was causing and was NOT trying to help herself; she was OUT!

It was the hardest thing I ever had to do but it was the best. It certainly saved us but she says, now that she is acting clean, that it saved her in the long run. She has even told me that giving her a safe, warm place to "crash", she never really did! And giving your son a warm and comfortable place to be will not make him want to ever "get out of the cold" - he will never HAVE to!

I know how difficult it is but you can take him to the Salvation Army or a shelter and tell him you love him, wish him luck and know that he has in him the strength to seek the help he needs.

But you and YOU along has to make the decision. YOU have to make a choice. You want him to choose to be clean and sober but you, too, have a choice to make as to what you will and will not tolerate. No, it's not easy but living with an active addict is not easy either. YOu have a choice to do so or NOT do so. and you have the right to that choice; it is YOUR home.

My AD has now told us that she was so glad that her dad and I set and stuck by a "standard" of behavior that we would accept. She said she knew she would have to set her sights to meeting that if she were to be able to come home and make it work for all of us.

If you "accept" less than you are willing to live with, then you send a message that it is "acceptable". And if it is not, then you need to take a stand; one way or the other but you can't have both. It doesn't work with an addict and you can't "bargain" for the acceptable behavior either.

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Old 01-11-2008, 11:18 PM
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I have to totally agree with ann. They don't always get help in jail. Jail is not for rehabilitation, it's for punishment.
They have to want to get help and actively persue it for their own welfare.
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Old 01-12-2008, 01:12 AM
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I dont know about u but I work damn hard for 600 dollars I would press charges on him and let him know that its unacceptable to do that to u.. As an addict he WILL not not die out there he will survive just like he did the last time he was out of your home. He knows that pneumonia card and he will play it till the end will u call his bluff???? He wont die in the cold addicts are resourcful when it comes to a place to stay, no need to give him a soft landing he has to the tools and he knows the tools to get clean again. Then again why should he, he has a warm bed, food, clean clothes, whatever he wants right now hell I wouldnt get clean either. Set your boundries press charges whatever your motives are at least he will kknow its unacceptable to STEAL from your parents...
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:02 AM
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In 1981 damage over $100 was a felony (malicious destruction over 100). I broke a few windows (after I was assaulted) and was sentenced to six months as a felon. I was 17, and the judgment just pi**ed me off. I got out of jail a couple of weeks before I turned 18.
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Old 01-12-2008, 07:41 AM
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I pressed charges against my son, they did not arrest him. It was for over $23,000, they sent it to the county and left it to them if they would indict him. They didn't so it went back to muncipal court. Would I do it again, yes!!!!!!! If you feel threaten my him they can do more. I hope you have better luck in your town than I did here. I did have my ras move out before I pressed charges. So maybe that is why they did not arrest him.
Keeping you in my prayers.
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