When you are a parent, your child’s health and well-being is always at the top of your list of concerns. You always want to be sure that your child is safe, but you cannot always be there for them, especially if you share your parenting time with your child’s other parent. Custodial disputes between parents do not always end with compliance. In some cases, a parent may try to flee with a child or keep the child from seeing their other parent. In these situations, that parent could be charged with parental kidnapping, which is called “custodial interference” in Connecticut.
Connecticut Custodial Interference Laws
While Connecticut laws do not specifically refer to parental kidnapping, there are, however, laws that are a bit more general, defining the offense of “custodial interference.” There are two degrees of custodial interference under Connecticut law, and these offenses may apply to all relatives of a child who is under the age of 16, rather than just the parents. If neither parent has custody of a child or children, a parent cannot be charged with custodial interference unless the other parent seeks an expedited sole custody order, and this order is granted by the court.
Custodial Interference in the Second Degree
For a parent to be guilty of custodial interference in the second degree, they must have either taken or enticed the child from his or her “lawful custodian” when they had no right to do so, with the intention of keeping the child permanently or for an unknown period of time, or they must have held, kept, or refused to return the child to his or her lawful custodian after the custodian has requested the child’s return.
This crime is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to one year. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor could also result in a fine of up to $2,000.
Custodial Interference in the First Degree
For a situation to be considered custodial interference in the first degree, the parent must have committed the crime of custodial interference but under circumstances that expose the child to a risk that his or her safety will be compromised. A parent can also be charged with custodial interference in the first degree if they take, entice, or detain the child out of the state of Connecticut.
This is charged as a Class D felony, which carries a possible prison sentence between one and five years. If you are convicted of a Class D felony, you could also face up to $5,000 in fines, in addition to court costs and fees.
Contact a Hartford, CT Parental Kidnapping Defense Lawyer Today
Criminal cases involving children are extremely serious in nature. The penalties for committing crimes against children are usually severe, and they are often enforced to their greatest extent. If you are facing charges of custodial interference, you should contact a skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you determine the best defense strategy against these charges, and we will fight to protect your freedom and your parental rights. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at 860-290-8690.