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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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I need to know if I am breaking the law, and what the penalties

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I need to know if I am breaking the law, and what the penalties might be.

I threw my 17 year old son out of my home in Indiana.

I have sent him to rehab 4 times (he failed out everytime), I have spent thousands on therapists, he has been on probabation twice (is not currently). He is failing out of school, refuses to come home weekends, etc..

Anyhow I found him using drugs again in my house, and lost it and kicked him out. I cannot feel bad, guilty, or sad for him anymore. He has completed drained me.
Hello lynn and welcome to JustAnswer. I'm sorry to hear of the problem you are having with your son. Unfortunately, your story is all too common these days.

As far as it applies to your situation, the law of child neglect in Indiana says:

A child is a child in need of services if, before the child becomes age 18:
  • The child's physical or mental condition is seriously impaired or seriously endangered as a result of the inability, refusal, or neglect of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision.

It is possible that Indiana authorities could view your kicking him out of the house and refusing to allow him to return as a form of child neglect, until he turns 18.

Simple child neglect is a class D felony, punishable to as much as 6 months to 3 years in prison. However, under the circumstances, it seems very unlikely that you would be prosecuted at all -- and that if you were, the actual penalty imposed would be significantly less than the possible maximum.

Of course, the state could also seek to terminate your parental rights, though I suspect you would not object to that.

How close is he to turning 18? Once he does, of course, you will no longer be subject to the child neglect laws.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer & good luck dealing with your son in the future. I hope that he gets straightened out and that you are eventually able to re-establishment a normal mother-son relationship. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

Edited by RunTam38 CA Lawyer on 3/2/2010 at 3:16 AM EST
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