The act of taking an individual without their consent is known as kidnapping. Washington State has a separate kidnapping charge for parental kidnapping. Parental kidnapping is the unlawful act of taking a minor or dependent adult without the consent of their parent(s) or legal guardian.

What is Parental Kidnapping Called in Washington State?

In Washington State, parental kidnapping is known as custodial interference. The State has two degrees of custodial interference. First degree custodial interference is when an individual intends to deny access to a minor child or dependent adult. That individual doesn’t have a lawful right to have physical custody of the victim. It’s a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

What is Custodial Interference in the Second Degree?

Second degree custodial interference is when a person intentionally denies a legal parent or guardian their lawful right to have physical custody of the minor child or dependent adult.

Under What Circumstances Can I be Charged With Second Degree Custodial Interference?

In Washington State, a parent of a child is guilty of custodial interference when:

  • The individual takes, retains, entices, detains, or conceals the child with the intent to deny the parent/guardian their lawful access;
  • A court finds the offending parent engaged in a repeated violations of court-ordered residential provisions; or
  • The parent hasn’t complied with the specific residential provisions outlined in a court-ordered parenting plan after a finding of contempt.

What is the Penalty for Second Degree Custodial Interference in Washington State?

A defendant charged with second degree custodial interference is charged with a gross misdemeanor. The defendant can face up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Child Kidnapping Charge?

Yes. Contact a Washington lawyer regarding your criminal charge.