Posted on August 7, 2017
Orange County Child Abduction Lawyer
Depriving another of child custody or visitation is also known as “Child Abduction” governed under California Penal Code 278.5(a) and formally defined as “Every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation is guilty.”
In order to prove this crime, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) You took, withheld, or concealed a child; 2) the child was a minor; 3) you acted maliciously depriving lawful visitation or custody. Child abduction is a wobbler offense which means the prosecutor may elect to charge you with a felony or misdemeanor.
If convicted of a felony, you face 16, 2, or 3 years in prison whereas a misdemeanor conviction carries up to 1 year in the county jail.
Under most circumstances, these accusations can be a complete exaggeration from the other parent upset for several reasons. In addition, false accusations are common among child custody disputes. It’s important to delicately handle these cases and expose the exaggerations or fabrications of the accuser. Furthermore, you may have a legitimate reason for taking the child – i.e., to prevent abuse or bodily injury from the other person.
Contact our office to speak with an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer if you’ve been arrested or charged with child abduction under PC 278.5(a) for a free consultation.