Q: I found a meth pipe in my restroom it’s my mothers. I wanna call the cops because she has custody of my brother.
A: There are several factors not provided in your question to give a comprehensive and cogent answer. First, not knowing your age, there is a human element than cannot be overlooked. If you choose to make a call, this case will progress as civil suit, in family law court. Whether law enforcement is called or Child Protective Services, in all practicality a criminal case would likely ensue only if officers made a welfare check and she was clearly under the influence. Unless you are capable of providing care for your brother or another close relative can provide care (dads whereabouts were unstated) your brother stands a good chance of being removed from your mother and temporary placed in the care of whatever child services agency or equivalent government managed agency dictates. In my 23 year career I have practiced both criminal and family law extensively, and when you make “the call”, as concerned as you are, your mother will have build a resentment against you, that may likely result in your relationship being severed for many years if not longer. Your mother is clearly not in her right mind and will make statements towards you with vulgar meth riddled statements that would offend any reasonable person. I’m sure you now know, it’s not mom, but the drugs reacting to the immediate shame and humiliation she will feel when she’s exposed. I suggest to think about the totality of that phone call, and do your best to role the tape over the next 5+ years. I have represented both sides of these serious
family disputes and the one statement I hear repeatedly is “why did I ever call and start this custody battle with the State of California, everything thing is worse”, or “I can’t believe my son forced my baby to be taken away, I’ll never forget what he did”. Court battles involving family members create unspeakable stress. When confronted by family and not police or CPS, your mother will be argumentative and nasty but courts will not be involved, which may open an avenue to ask her to enter a rehabilitation facility when her temper subsides. Adults meth users are typically serious addicts who will not recover on her own. Her sobriety will be a hard fight and you need to weigh the safety and welfare of your brother vs. your belief in mom being able to overcome methamphetamine. I have tried to illustrate the likely obstacles I front of you, but unfortunately only you are in a position to answer that question. God bless young man.
A: Mr. Winkler provided a fine answer with respect to what I refer as "unintended" or "collateral' consequences involving reporting family members to CPS or other agencies involved in family law matters. I'm going to approach it from a criminal law standpoint.
You didn't provide information regarding whether you and your mother share the same household or live apart. In light of your statement that your mother has custody of your brother, I'm going to assume that you and your mother live apart.
If you call the police (or CPS for that matter who will notify the police), you may face the prospect of being criminally charged for being in possession of drug paraphernalia. The meth pipe was in YOUR bathroom after all. Short of taking fingerprints being taken proving that you did not handle the meth pipe (which police don't ordinarily do), you would likely be the person charged with possession of the crack pipe AND the police with conduct a thorough warrantless search of the rest of your premises (where you live) for any and all other contraband (not just drugs). If you are on probation with search terms that would also enable the police to virtually turn the place you live upside down looking for evidence to charge with as well as being in violation of the terms of your probation. If you own any firearms, they will be seized and you will go through hell trying to get them back.
I suggest you think long and hard about the potential criminal consequences to you in reporting your mother and think of alternative solutions.
Best of luck.
A: Winkler and Karas have provided two very well-thought-out answers.
more info would be needed.
maybe you should consider a "free" consultation with a local lawyer and providing all this info to him or her. They could then fill in the blanks of info that are missing to guide you.
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