To have physical custody of a child or committed person in Georgia means to have the legal right to determine where they reside. A parent must have physical custody to determine where a child can live. A guardian of a committed person must also legal custody to determine where and with who they reside. Anyone without legal custody is considered interfering with that custody.
What Is Interference with Custody?
Interfering with custody is a crime that occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly entices or takes a child or committed person away from someone’s lawful custody.
Why Am I Accused of Interfering When the Child Wanted to Remain with Me?
According to Georgia law, harboring a child or committed person who has absconded from their home is interfering with custody. For instance, a runaway child may ask to live with a person without their parents’ consent. That person is interfering with child custody when they do not return the child or inform where they are residing.
Can I Be Arrested If I Do Not Give a Child Back After My Visitation Time?
Yes. To retain a child or committed person beyond a lawful period of visitation with them is also custody interference.
What Is the Penalty for Custody Interference in Georgia?
A first conviction for the crime of interference with custody is a misdemeanor. It carries the punishment of:
- Imprisonment of one to five months
- A fine of $200 to $500
- Both imprisonment and a fine
What If I Have Already Been Convicted of Interfering with Custody Once Before?
A second conviction is still a misdemeanor, but it comes with a more significant punishment. The punishment for a second conviction of interference with custody is:
- A $400 to $1,000 fine
- Three to 12 months in prison
- Both a fine and time in prison
Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me in My Case?
Whenever facing a second criminal charge, it is essential to retain legal representation. If you are facing a second charge of custody interference, contact a Georgia attorney immediately.