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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 116165
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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I have a teen (step-son) that has been dealing drugs out of

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I have a teen (step-son) that has been dealing drugs out of our house. We have had a zero tolerance policy about dealing drugs AND have stated that if he does smoke pot, he needs to be outside.

His mother and I decided to search his room (we had been suspecting for a while). We found over 1 oz of marihuana, some powdery substance, lots of plastic bags for distribution AND about $3500 in small to large bills...ALL indicating a growing business in drug distribution.

We confiscated and threw out the drugs. We also took and are holding the money in a safe deposit box. Our teenager just turned 18 and we are wondering what our legal standing is with regard to the money. Do we have a right to hold it?? PUt it in the bank for safe-keeping to be returned someday.

He is 18, a legal adult, and I am not sure what our rights are. We did not call the police, we are trying to protect out son. In addition he has threatened "to break every bone" in his brother's body. What is your advice and what is our legal standing?
Your legal rights are to put him out of the house and based on the threats of violence you need to go to court and get a restraining order against him on behalf of his brother and this will mean he cannot enter the home. Unfortunately, he has bought drugs into your home which means that if the police ever do show up, you can be equally liable for the drugs in the home as he is and you could even lose your home to an asset seizure. It is time to execute a little bit of tough love.

As far as the money, it is proceeds from illegal activity, it is not like he could actually sue you for it. However, to avoid any issues with him doing something stupid like filing suit and admitting it is from drugs or even worse, committing an act of violence and going to jail whether you like it or not, you should pack his things, get the restraining order and on his way out of the door, give him the money and just bar him from your home, since you do not want the police involved.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Both brothers have threatened each other. Nick the one dealing the deals has threatened" to break every bone" in his brother's body. The other brother, Anthony has threatened to "get a gun and shoot Nick" and done so in writing (texting) Both son's have threatened each other, so are we to get a restraining order for each?

Can we possibly decide to let Anthony stay and let Nick move on? Their mother is beside herself..and we are trying to fend off disaster.

Certainly it is Nick that done both the drug dealing AND the threatening
I am not trying to be blunt, but there is no other way to put this nicely, so take no offense. You need to quit enabling your son and sticking up for him. He is dealing drugs and keeping them in your home and you can get arrested and lose your home and you are not doing him any good by sticking up for him. You need to have a restraining order obtained to keep him out of your home and you need to put him out. Yes, I know Anthony threatened him as well but he did so in response to Nick threatening him. Also the only way to really fend off disaster and not involve the police is put Nick out period. Give him his money on the way out of the door and tell him he is not welcomed to return and if he does you will call the police and until he goes to get help and gets off of drugs that will be the way it is going to be. Sounds cold and mom may be upset about it, but I have seen too many of these end up in tragedy with mom and dad losing their homes or sitting in jail because the police showed up and found drugs in their house that there really is no way to better impress upon you that you are doing him no good at all sticking up for him and actually you are placing yourselves and your other son in harm's way by doing so.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your frank and honest reply.

This is very difficult for us. I thought I was being the tough one...but your answer has been very sobering.

I do need to point out that Anthony has been threatening violence for a long time---well BEFORE and not in response to this revelation of Nick's drug dealing.

BUT worse yet it is really Anthony who observed the drugs in his brother's room..and told us we should search his room.

Both of them have engaged in threats of bodily harm. or threats to kill the other. These twins have been going at it for a long time. I think you are right. It is Nick who must be told to leave.

You have one more duty that I have not mentioned here and that is to protect Anthony and show him what the right thing to do is. It may be that Anthony is threatening violence because he is fed up with the drugs and the other issues involving Nick and you need to not make excuses for Nick doing drugs, because that is really what you are doing here making excuses for why Anthony is just as wrong as Nick. The threats are not the issue, the fact Nick brought drugs in your home and is dealing from your home is the issue. You are engaging in enabling behavior in your comments about Anthony almost in defense of Nick. The right thing to do is get Nick out of your house before it is too late and it is more likely than not you will find that once you do Anthony's behavior will change as well.