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Dad let's stepdaughter spend night in jail; says, 'Next time she won't do stupid sh*t."

Dad let's stepdaughter spend night in jail; says, 'Next time she won't do stupid sh*t."


AITA For letting my step-daughter spend a night in jail instead of bailing her out right away

My wife (38F) and I (39M) have been married for 6 years. We have 2 kids (8 & 5). My wife also has a daughter, Mary (18) from before we got together. Mary is in her senior year of high school and lives with us. She will go see her bio-dad 2 weekends a month, but due to her extra-curricular activities, it is not always an every-other-weekend thing.

Since bio-dad lives about 2 hours away, Mary works out times with her dad for her to visit him and she drives herself there.

This past weekend, my wife took our 2 younger kids to visit her sister who lives about 3 hours away. Before my wife left, Mary told us that she was going to visit her dad that weekend. I was going to stay home to get some work done on some home projects that had been neglected over the holidays.

So, on Friday after everyone else had left, I kicked back and took advantage of the very rare opportunity of having an empty house to myself. I bought a nice bottle of bourbon, visited our local dispensary, and bought myself a nice big steak.

About 3am, I was awoken by a phone call. Any parent knows that a phone call at that time of night is a nightmare situation, so I immediately answered. It was my wife and she told me that Mary had been arrested and had just called her from our local jail. Apparently, she had lied about going to her dad's house and had instead attended a party.

The party got busted and Mary panicked and tried to run. Of course, the cops caught her and arrested her. My wife said that the police would allow me to go get Mary right away instead of keeping her in jail.

I told my wife that I had been drinking earlier and was probably not safe to drive, let alone drive to a police station. I told her that I would pick Mary up first thing in the morning. My wife yelled at me for being irresponsible by drinking to that point in case of an emergency.

I told her that I was home by myself and everyone else in the family was supposed to be hours away, so I essentially had zero responsibility for anyone besides myself. She eventually calmed down enough to see my side.

The next morning, I went and got Mary right when I woke up. When I saw her, it was obvious she had been crying a lot and she didn't say a word to me on the way home. She immediately went to her room when we got home and didn't come out the entire day.

The next day when my wife got home, Mary was still in her room. My wife talked to her and then came to talk to me. She told me that both her and Mary are disappointed in me that I made her spend a night in jail instead of getting her right away. She said that Mary is traumatized by the whole thing. I told her 'Good, maybe next time she won't lie and do stupid sh!t.'

I reminded her that Mary is an adult now and she has to get used to facing consequences of her actions and this should be a very clear reminder of what those consequences could be. My wife said that that lesson could have been made without making her spend a night in jail.

Here's how people judged OP:

ladybug211211 writes:

You are only an AH for not doing what you said you were going to do: neglected projects. Whether the 18 gets picked up at 3am or 8am makes no diff and hopefully she learned something.

jailtimeaita OP responded:

Oh, I still worked on those projects all day Saturday. Required the use of some power tools as well. I'm sure Mary enjoyed that noise.

GrooveBat writes: *didn't* 'stand next to her and support her.' You literally left her to fend for herself in a jail cell.

I screwed up a lot when I was a teenager and I'm sure I put my parents through hell. But there was never, ever a scenario where they made me feel like they didn't care whether or not I was safe. Never.

jailtimeaita OP responded:

You're right, if I would have driven to the jail to pick her up right when my wife called, I would have been able to stand next to her in a cell and offer support after I got arrested for DUI.

Quakes-JD writes:

What about using a ride share to get her? Is she not worth that much effort?

jailtimeaita OP responded:

Small town, population under 10K. We don't have rideshares here.

Quakes-JD writes:

Did you consider a taxi or asking a friend? Obviously you chose well not driving in that state just think there were options you could/should have considered. If none available then I would vote NTA

jailtimeaita OP responded:

It was 3am and, in my opinion, not an actual emergency that would require waking anyone else up. And we don't have taxis here either, small town.

RB1327 writes:

Arrested for what? Cops breaking up parties aren't looking to fill holding cells with teenagers for underage drinking or smoking weed. Even assault cases walk out after booking in most places. YTA regardless.

jailtimeaita OP responded:

They charged her with underage drinking, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. We are looking into a lawyer because I expect we can get some of the charges reduced or dropped completely.

Melinatl writes:

Oof they threw the book at her! Does she have any last criminal history?

jailtimeaita OP responded:

No priors, first time offense. But like I said, we'll pay for a lawyer and likely get some things dropped and/or reduced. An unfortunate learning experience for sure, but not the end of the world.

burgerpizzatacocafe writes:

And she's not paying for the lawyer, because...? If she doesn't have a job, she needs one. If she goes on probation, they will make her get one. Either way, you guys don't deserve to have her dip into your coffers to cover for her mistake.

jailtimeaita OP responded:

She has a part-time job. But lawyers are expensive. I have no problem helping her with legal fees in this case.

Disastrous-Bee-1557 writes:

NTA. If she was so traumatized by spending the night in jail, then why didn’t your wife contact her actual father after you told her you were not sober enough to drive down bail her out? Surely two hours away it not too far when his daughter is in jail.

Sources: Reddit
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