Can my adult son who lives with me be charged with causing damage to my home?

The police in my area say no because he lives there but he does not pay rent or for anything else. He is 20 years old and has never moved out. He is knocking holes in walls, etc.

Asked on October 1, 2015 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

He is causing damage to property that he does not own.... so this is criminal mischief for which he should be required to pay restitution.  It sounds like your officers have issues with interpreting the law... which unfortunately is becoming a more widespread problem.  If they won't arrest him for criminal mischief, see if they will go with an alternative charge of disorderly conduct. 
If you want the criminal charges to continue moving forward, consider setting up a time to meet with your local district attorney and explain the officers' lack of training.  They may be able to help educate them on what is and what is not the law so that they will be more willing and able to help you in the future.
If you think dealing with law enforcement is a bust and they are beyond help... then you need to take matters into your own hands... but do so legally.  File an eviction action against your son and allege the damage to your home as the basis of the eviction. You may be able to get the judge to order him to pay a portio of the damages in addition to evicting your son.  I know this is a harsh remedy... but it will actually be better for your son's records (i.e. no criminal record) and it will get him out of your home... which will be much better for your peace of mind.


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