Kidnapping is the taking away or abducting a victim without legal authority or their consent to do so. Kidnapping can be committed by a stranger or a family member. In Georgia, kidnapping and interference with custody are separate crimes even though both can involve taking a child.

What Is Interference with Custody?

Interference with custody is the disruption of lawful custody of a parent or guardian by a third party.

How Does Georgia Define Interference of Custody?

In Georgia, interfering with custody is defined three ways. First, it is recklessly or knowingly taking or enticing a child or committed individual from someone who has lawfully custody of them. It is also knowingly harboring any committed individual or child who flees from their parent or guardian. Finally, it is described as intentionally and willfully retaining possession of a child or committed person within the state of Georgia past the end of a lawful visitation period with the child or committed person.

Who Is Considered a Child in Georgia?

For the crime of interfering with custody, a minor is generally 17 years old. However, an 18 year old who is in the custody of child services is also categorized as a child under this crime.

Who Is a Committed Person?

A committed person is any individual, adult or child, whose custody is entrusted to someone else by legal authority. The custody is typically given to another when the person in question is physically or mentally handicapped and is incapable of taking care of themselves.

Why Was I Arrested for Interference When My Child Wants to Stay with Me?

A parent must have lawful custody of a child or committed person to avoid being arrested for interfering with custody. Lawful custody is custody of a child or committed person that is:

  • Inherently giving to natural parents
  • Awarded by proper authority such as foster care
  • Awarded to a parent or guardian by a court

What Is the Penalty for Interference of Custody in Georgia If I Am a First-Time Offender?

A first offense of interfering with child custody is a misdemeanor crime. The punishment for this crime is:

  • One to five months in prison
  • A fine of $200 to $500
  • Both a fine and a prison sentence

Do I Need a Lawyer with My Charge?

You will definitely need legal assistance if you are accused of interfering with another person’s child custody rights. You should contact a Georgia criminal lawyer for help with your criminal charge regarding interfering with child custody.