Parental kidnapping is the crime of taking, or abducting a child, without the permission of their parent or guardian. In Texas, there are several other criminal laws devoted to punishing people who interfere or kidnap individuals. One law prohibits interfering with the rights of a guardian of a person.

How Does One Interfere with the Rights of a Guardian in Texas?

A person interferes with the rights of a guardian of a person when they:

  • Take, conceal, or retain the ward;
  • While knowing that, by concealing or retaining the ward, they are interfering with the guardian’s physical custody; and
  • Actually interfere with the guardian’s possessory right of the ward

What Does “Possessory Right” Mean?

Texas law describes possessory right as the guardian’s right to have physical custody of the ward and establish their legal residence. For example, a guardian is given custody of a minor. A parent interferes with the custody by physically taking the minor from the guardian.

What Does “Ward” Refer To?

The term “ward” is used to describe a minor or individual incapable of raising themselves.

Is This Charge the Same as Harboring a Runaway Child?

No. This crime refers specifically to both physically taking and concealing a ward from their guardian. Harboring a runaway refers to knowingly concealing a child from a parent, probation officer, Texas Youth Council, or police where the child has removed themselves from physical custody of whoever has physical custody of them.

What Is the Punishment for Interfering the Rights of a Guardian?

The crime of interfering with the rights of a guardian is a jail felony. This type of felony is punishable by 180 days to 2 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Do I Need Help with My Criminal Charge?

Understanding the law criminalizing interfering the rights of a guardian of a person and possible defenses is vital to resolving your case. Talking to a Texas criminal attorney will help you understanding what you need to do to avoid state jail time. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you of your rights, help you with a defense, and advise you as to what options may be open to you.