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  • i need help

    hello. my name is donovan, im 17, and i have a very complicated story. so about a year ago my mom met this guy online. shes over 40 so she is kind of desperate looking for a new husband even though her last 2 marriges ended terribly. so this guy james marries my mom the day they met, and i didnt see any issues with it. it wasnt my life so i couldnt say anything about it. for the first 2 months james was a standard step dad. he tried to keep behind his boundaries. but he has TERRIBLE anger management issues. he would scream and throw things over salt and pepper being in the wrong place. he also started trying to enforce rules over me and my brother wesly who is 14. then we started having money troubles because james doesnt want to get a job, he wants to sit around smoking marijuana all day (he got his perscription at venice beach for "high blood pressure" so its legal). so my mom tells me me and my little brother have to start living in the living room. i understand and agree. turns out, james likes to wake up and talk crap about us every morning at 6:00 AM. i tried talking to my mom about a dozen times but she is brainwashed into thinking its all my fault. so i tollerated it. a few months ago james took all the lightbulbs from the lamps in the living room so i couldnt see. apparently wesly had left them on for 15 minutes while he went for a walk, so he took them. wesly was not here so i wondered why i should be punished for his mistake. i go and ask james for my light bulbs back. and he tells me no and slams the door in my face. after 5 months of building up rage i had had it. i poured out his precious "texas style sweet tea" he keeps a generous supply of. when i came back later that day he was going ballistic. my little brother also had a lot of pent up rage, and i ended up having to disarm him because he had two knives and wanted to kill james after all the mental abuse every single morning. the next day james comes into my room with a knife in his hand, and starts threatening me saying it is now legal for him to kick my ass, that i better watch my food, threatening to poison me, ETC. ETC.... i decide maybe ill get my mom back on my side if i dont call the police. but then my mom doesnt even believe me about the knife. or about the threats. and she blows up on me saying its all my fault, even if he did. so now its a few months later, ive broken down crying a few times, scarred up my knuckles punching walls, and now i just cant take it. my mom is starting to talk about kicking me out. and at this point i dont know if i can restrain myself from hitting james.

    so after this story, and you know the background, here is my legal questions

    1. would it be considered "aggravated assault" if i ended up losing control and fighting james
    2. where could i go to stay since i am 17 with no juvenile record? i dont know what to do
    3. how bad would the jail time be if i fought james?
    4. would it be possible to press charges against james for mental abuse?

    thank you for your time,
    donovan

  • #2
    Re: i need help

    Hi Donovan –

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing a bit of your story with us. You certainly have a lot going on right now and it sounds like you are pretty fed up with the situation at home. With everything that is going on it sounds like the biggest issue is James, your step-father. It sounds like it has been really hard living with him and the situation just continues to worsen. It’s understandable that you are at the point where you feel like you are going to blow up on him. Now we are not lawyers here so we cannot give you specific legal advice but we can certainly talk through the situation and go over some of these questions you have.

    If your step-father is hurting or abusing you, mentally or physically, in any way you certainly have the right to let someone know. In most states, at the age of 17, you are still considered a minor and you could let someone from child protective services know what is happening. Are you getting any support from anyone right now in regards to this situation at home? If you do feel comfortable reaching out to someone you trust, such as another family member or even a teacher, that could be one option to keep in mind. In regards to getting in trouble for fighting; usually if a fight/assault like that should happen it is dependent on if the person presses charges or not. Keep in mind if your stepdad starts to get physical, you have every right to contact the police and let them know what happened and possibly even press charges or get Child Protective Services involved. If you start a fight it may be possible for James to press charges. Because you are 17 the courts may deal with you either as a minor or an adult but we cannot say for sure what they would do or what the charges would consist of. One thing that could be an option is to try and talk with a legal aid office in your area if you want more legal specifics on what could happen.

    While it’s understandable that you are finished with your step-dad and his behavior our main concern is your safety and you being in a good situation. Do you think there is anything that would make living at home a better situation for you? Keep in mind that you can always contact us here at the National Runaway Safeline if you would like to discuss this more in depth. We are not here to tell you what to do but there is always someone available to provide support, discuss options, and even find helpful resources (such as legal aid) in your area. You can contact us at our 24 hour hotline 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929). We also have an online chat that is available from 4:30p to 11:30p CST daily. Please contact us anytime. There is always someone here to listen. Take care.
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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