Custody interference occurs when a person recklessly, intentionally, or knowingly takes or entices a child or committed person away from their legal guardian or parent. Interference can occur by intentionally keeping a child or committed person beyond their visitation or allowing a runaway to stay in your home. 

What Are the Definitions of a Committed Person and a Child?

In Georgia, a committed person is an individual who has a legal guardian or anyone with legal authority over them. A child is a minor under the age of 17 years old who is living with parents or a legal guardian. An individual who is a ward of the court is considered a child as long as they are younger than 18 years old.

How Does Georgia Define Interference with Custody?

In Georgia, interference with custody is a misdemeanor crime. A person commits the crime of interference with custody when they:

  • Knowingly harbor a child or committed person who has run away from home
  • Intentionally and willfully retain possession of a child or committed person within the state of Georgia beyond the expiration of their period of visitation
  • Knowingly or recklessly entice or take a committed person or child away from whoever has lawful custody of them

What Is Interstate Interference with Custody in Georgia?

Interstate interference with custody in Georgia when a person removes a child or committed person from Georgia, or takes the child or committed person into Georgia from another state, without the consent of their parent or guardian. It also occurs when a person moves the child or committed person out of Georgia during a lawful visitation period and then intentionally retains possession of the committed person or child after the visitation period has expired. When charged with this crime, the person is accused of not having the lawful authority to keep the child or committed person in their custody.

What Is the Difference between Standard Interference and Interstate Interference in Georgia?

These two forms of interference with custody are separate crimes under Georgia law. Standard interference with custody happens within Georgia state lines. Interstate interference with custody occurs when a person takes a child or committed person across Georgia state lines.

What Is the Penalty for Interstate Interference?

Interstate interference with custody is a felony in Georgia. The punishment for this felony is one to five years in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer to Represent Me?

Whenever you are facing a felony charge, you need legal assistance if you want to properly defend yourself against the charge. It is vital that you contact a Georgia lawyer to represent you with any custody interference charge.