In the age of the internet, people turn to online communities seeking advice on various moral and legal dilemmas. One increasingly common question is whether they were justified in pressing charges against someone.
Join us as we delve into real-life stories where individuals faced this decision and turned to the online world to ask: “Was I wrong for pressing charges?”
All content has been edited for clarity.
She Has To Learn Somehow
“My son Bryce (17M) dated our neighbor Lana (17F) for a year, but they broke up in mid-January for reasons I don’t know. I won’t sugarcoat this: I never liked Lana. She always seemed a little unhinged, controlling, and aggressive. She demanded Bryce’s attention and even showed up at our house out of nowhere, sometimes as early as 7 am or as late as 11 pm, if Bryce wasn’t answering his phone. She would scream and accuse him of things he didn’t do. My wife and I were genuinely concerned about our son’s well-being in that relationship.
We tried to talk him out of it, explaining that her behavior wasn’t normal or healthy. We didn’t want to force a breakup because we feared Lana’s reaction, so we attempted to do it more discreetly. We don’t know if our efforts had any impact, but eventually, they did break up.
After the breakup, Lana surprisingly didn’t contact him, which was unexpected because we had anticipated some sort of outburst. We advised Bryce not to provoke fate if it seemed to be on his side. However, a new problem emerged. We had given our son a car for Christmas, not a fancy one, but it was enough for him to commute to school, work, and eventually college. He parked it in our driveway.
At the beginning of the month, we started noticing scratches on the car. We strongly suspected Lana but couldn’t prove it, even though we had CCTV cameras. However, my instincts told me to take precautions, so I adjusted one of the cameras to face his car directly.
Two weeks ago, we woke up to find my son’s car covered in various substances—paint, glue, feathers, confetti, and the door handles were damaged. The tires were flat, and paint was splattered all over the windows. It was a complete mess. Bryce and my wife were devastated. We immediately called the police and provided them with the CCTV footage that clearly showed Lana and her brother (23M) vandalizing my son’s car. We pressed charges, and Lana’s brother was arrested. However, since she’s a minor, her parents want to negotiate, but I declined. I don’t believe she should get away without facing consequences for her actions. She appeared to find the situation amusing, and if she thought it was a joke, she’s old enough to deal with the repercussions. My wife and I are determined to stand our ground. They offered to buy my son a better car and enroll Lana in therapy, but we believe that’s not sufficient.
Are we the a**holes?”
Sounds Like An Adult Stealing Things
“I [M47] have been married to my wife for 2 years. She has a 21-year-old son, and I have a 14-year-old daughter from my previous marriage. My late wife passed away in 2014, leaving a few things for our daughter, including a valuable gold jewelry set. My late wife was devastated that she couldn’t gift the set to our daughter on her wedding day. I’ve been keeping it in my closet since it’s expensive, and my daughter is too young to have it. I plan to gift it to her on her wedding day someday.
Last week, while we were sitting in the kitchen, my stepson seemed hesitant to ask me something. We have a generally good relationship but have had our fair share of arguments. He mentioned that his fiancée was looking for something in his mother’s and my closet and saw the jewelry set, which she really liked. He asked if he could borrow it so his fiancée could wear it at her cousin’s wedding. I found this request unacceptable and told him that his fiancée had no business going through our bedroom, and besides, the jewelry isn’t mine; it’s meant for my daughter. When he asked if my daughter would agree to let him borrow it, I firmly told him not to bring it up again. He got upset, and I recall him saying some things in frustration.
On Saturday night, when he and his fiancée were at the wedding, I discovered that the jewelry set was missing. I immediately informed my wife, and we searched the house thoroughly. Worried that someone might have stolen it, I called my stepson and mentioned involving the police. He insisted there was no need for that, as he had borrowed it and would return it after the wedding. I got angry and repeatedly called him until 12 am when he asked me to stop calling and promised to bring it in the morning.
I couldn’t sleep that night, feeling terrible about the situation. The next morning, he showed up at 10 am but didn’t bring the jewelry set. Instead, he started stalling, saying he had “forgotten” and would bring it the next day. It became evident that he had given it to his fiancée and was intentionally stalling. I lost my temper and told him that I would press charges if he didn’t return the set today. We had a heated argument, and my wife explained that it was his fiancée who wanted the jewelry set. However, he was the one who took it, and it’s not even mine; it’s intended for my daughter, which made the situation even worse because I’m responsible for it.
His grandparents berated me after I informed them of my decision to press charges, defending him and claiming that calling the police was excessive and cruel. They all tried to convince me to reconsider my actions.
Am I the a**hole for pressing charges? He was responding sarcastically when I initially mentioned involving the authorities, and he didn’t take me seriously. His mom said she’d try to talk to him, but I had enough of his stalling, hoping I’d let it go just to please his fiancée.
I feel like an irresponsible idiot. I can’t even look at my daughter without feeling frustrated and infuriated. This is my daughter’s property that I couldn’t safeguard. My wife allows them into our room, despite my repeated requests for boundaries.”
They Sound A Bit Enabling
“My cousin recently turned 18, and she’s still in high school. During her birthday weekend, she had hoped her parents would buy her a car, but they didn’t, which left her quite upset. I should mention that I’m not particularly close to my cousin or the rest of my extended family. I only heard about this situation through my dad.
On the Friday before her birthday, my cousin texted me, asking if she could borrow my car. I had just leased a new Ford Escape. She wanted to go to the mall and then on an out-of-town road trip with her friends over the weekend. I declined her request.
She continued to beg and plead with me, but I held my ground. My car was for my personal use only, and if she wanted her own car, she would have to save up and buy one. In response, she called me a derogatory name and accused me of ruining her birthday. She was embarrassed because her friends thought she had received a car as a birthday gift when she hadn’t. I chose not to respond to her at that point.
Over the weekend, I slept in quite late on Saturday, waking up at 1:00 pm (please don’t judge). To my surprise, even though my car was parked in my driveway with the gate closed, I found it egged and TP’d. There were numerous eggs and 5-6 rolls of toilet paper used. The raw egg had baked into my car due to the warm weather, causing damage to the paint.
Since I had security cameras around my house, I decided to review the footage. To my dismay, at around 9:30 am that morning, I saw my cousin and some of her friends vandalizing my car. I was surprised they hadn’t smashed the windows or damaged the tires as well.
To continue the story, I pressed charges against my cousin, who is now facing legal trouble. Her parents and her are very upset with me for taking this step. They argue that she’s ‘just a kid’ and has been under ’emotional stress’ due to virtual schooling over the past year. They believe I should consider these factors and be ashamed for pursuing legal action against my younger cousin. They’ve suggested that I work something out with her, such as having her do chores in exchange for dropping the charges. They claim she’s young, doesn’t need a felony on her record, and that it was just a prank. My cousin has also bombarded me with calls and texts, saying that this could’ve been avoided if I had let her borrow my car.
Am I the one in the wrong in this situation?
I should note that my cousin already has a felony on her record and she doesn’t seem remorseful about her actions. Additionally, my aunt and uncle refuse to pay for the damages and want me to drop the charges while covering the costs myself, which I find unfair.”
It’s Stealing No Matter What It Is
“My ex and I divorced three years ago due to her infidelity, but at this point, I don’t dwell on the past relationship anymore. The pending lawsuit has nothing to do with her or her new partner, but rather concerns their actions.
My ex and I share custody of our 13-year-old son, splitting time with him 50/50. He’s a great kid, and his interests have naturally evolved as he’s grown.
At one point, my son was deeply into LEGO sets. He used to play with them all the time, and personally, I think they’re a fantastic toy for various reasons. I used to enjoy building them with him, and I still collect unopened boxes as a hobby.
However, when my ex and I divorced, she began dating someone who had an even greater passion for LEGO. He enjoyed creating and building sets, which I thought was cool. What I found strange was his habit of using crazy glue to prevent the sets from breaking or losing pieces.
The recent issue arose when I was out of town for three days last week due to medical reasons. My son wanted to retrieve his PS4 to play at his mom’s place, which wasn’t unusual, and he had a key to my house. He informed me he’d be coming over to get it, and I wished him a good time when I saw him on my entry camera.
However, my ex’s husband accompanied him, which was against our agreement. I spoke to my son through the speaker, instructing him not to enter the house and to wait on the porch.
He hesitated but entered anyway. In response, I texted my ex, urging her to call her husband and warn him that he was a minute away from a potential police call. He left my home carrying a bag, which I didn’t think much of initially, assuming it contained my son’s games.
Later that evening, my son texted me, revealing that he wasn’t aware at the time, but he suspected his stepdad (SD) had taken some of my LEGO sets. Two of these sets were quite valuable. When I returned home and confirmed the missing sets, I contacted my ex. She was unaware of the situation, but her husband admitted to taking them, explaining it was to help my son complete his collection. However, my son doesn’t even have an interest in LEGOs anymore and assured his mom that he wouldn’t steal from me.
My wife asked about the cost of replacing the sets, but unfortunately, it exceeds their savings. In fact, it would require their entire down payment for a house and more. I informed them that if they didn’t reimburse me within two weeks, I would pursue legal action and press charges since the value of the sets constitutes a felony.
The LEGO sets were an investment for my son’s future education or a home of his own. I have filed a police report and consulted a lawyer, and we’re proceeding with the lawsuit.
Some people are belittling me, claiming they are just toys, but I don’t see it that way. These sets have real value, and I’m not wealthy. I needed them to help secure my son’s future, even if they might have denied him some enjoyment at his mom’s house.
Am I the one at fault here?”