My question involves criminal law for the state of: California
I'm brand new to the forum, didn't even know there was one like this until someone I told my story to advised me to seriously seek legal aid. I have no money currently and am under a pile of debt, my life is in shambles and I have no idea how to find free legal help where I am, so I hope someone here could shed some light.
Basically, I'm a young adult and last year my mom got hold of my credit card (the only one I have - I've always been terrified of debt since she was constantly in around $500k debt my whole life and filed bankruptcy within the last few years, so I only ever used it to purchase things I could immediately pay off). My purse had been stolen and I called to cancel the card, not realizing they'd sent a replacement (young and stupid, had barely even noticed I had one to begin with). I wasn't living at home at this time and the card was sent to the recorded mailing address, being my mom's. She didn't let me know and instead went on a spending spree, paying off her bills and going out to dinner and stuff like that, which added up to about $4k.
When I found out, I had no idea what to do. She didn't have any money and was afraid of going to jail, so told me she would have no way of earning money to pay it off if I reported it. She said she would pay it all off, which I had her sign in writing (now not sure where the paper is) and she even said she'd continue to pay for any additional credit I used until I graduated from college, as a way to make it up to me. I wanted to believe her and the other option seemed so bleak (she's in jail and I have to pay the debt myself) so I agreed.
I also did something really stupid - I felt so violated and upset that all the debt I was in wasn't because of anything I got out of it, so I started using the card, "knowing" she'd pay it off. Over the rest of the year, I ended up adding $2k more to my debt, give or take. My card has a $7k limit and it's been reached. My mom has stopped being worried that I'll report her and has been slacking off on payments, which have only been appeasing the minimum for a while now. Oh yes, and I forgot, after she returned my card she 'informed' me of another purchase after she used it and confessed that she'd recorded the card number to use it again, buying a new engine for her car. I've since had the account number changed.
I read that the statue of limitations for this sort of thing in California is 3 years, which means there's still time to do something about it... but if she has no money to pay the debt, what good would it do? I'm really confused and worried what this is doing to my credit score. There's a lot more flesh to the situation, but that's the crucial information. I really appreciate any help!