Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent takes a child without the other parent’s consent or violates a court order regarding custody or visitation rights. In Colorado, parental kidnapping is a criminal offense that can result in significant fines, imprisonment, and other legal penalties.
At Peakstone Law Group (formerly known as Patterson Weaver Law), we understand the complexities of custodial interference cases and how a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication can spin out of control, often leading to a parent who just wanted to spend time with their child facing criminal charges. Our experienced attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of parents facing criminal charges. We take the time to develop strategic defense plans that consider all legal options.
If you’re facing parental kidnapping charges in Colorado Springs, we want to help you through the legal process and protect your rights as a parent. Contact us now for a free consultation to discover how our defense lawyers can help you.
What Is Parental Kidnapping in Colorado Springs?
Custodial interference is a serious crime in Colorado, defined as a parent intentionally taking, retaining, or concealing a child from the other parent. It can occur when a parent takes a child out of the state or country without permission, refuses to return a child after a visit, or denies the other parent access to the child.
How Can Parents Kidnap Their Own Children?
Parents might “kidnap” their own children for various reasons.
Here are several common forms of custodial interference you should be aware of:
- Taking a child out of the state or country without the other parent’s knowledge or permission
- Failing to return the child to the other parent at the scheduled time
- Moving the child to a different address without informing the other parent
- Ending the other parent’s parenting time (visitation) early if you are the custodial parent
Taking matters into your own hands can be tempting when custody disputes arise, but remember that the court has the final say in determining custody arrangements. Parents should communicate with each other, prioritize their child’s well-being, and work within the legal system to resolve any disputes.
Colorado Custody Laws and Parental Kidnapping
When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the court might intervene to make decisions in the child’s best interests. Colorado courts recognize two categories of custody:
- Parenting time deals with physical custody and visitation, including which parent, if either, has primary custody and how often the non-custodial parent sees the child.
- Parental responsibility refers to the right to have the final say in major life choices for the child, such as decisions about their education, healthcare, and religion. The courts might award sole decision-making responsibility to one parent or grant joint decision-making responsibilities to both parents.
Potential Defenses to Claims of Parental Kidnapping
When a parent is accused of parental kidnapping, there are several potential defenses an attorney can raise to rebut certain elements of the offense or otherwise avoid a conviction.
Some common defenses for cases involving parental kidnapping include:
- Lack of intent – The parent genuinely believed they had the right to take or retain custody of the child or acted out of concern for the child’s safety.
- Consent – One parent permitted the other parent to take or keep the child, as evidenced through written or verbal agreements, text messages, or emails.
- Emergency – The parent had to take or keep the child due to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or medical emergency.
- Custody dispute – There is a pending custody dispute, or the parent reasonably believes the other parent is unfit or abusive. However, this defense is not absolute and only applies in some instances.
What Are the Penalties for Custodial Interference?
In Colorado, parental kidnapping is a class 5 felony offense. Possible penalties for conviction include one to three years in prison and at least $1,000 in fines. Additionally, if the accused parent has a prior criminal record or has committed other related offenses, such as domestic violence or child abuse, they could face more severe penalties.
The accused parent could lose custody, visitation, or decision-making rights, and might also be required to pay restitution to the other parent. In some cases, the court could require the accused parent to attend counseling or parenting classes to address any underlying issues that contributed to the kidnapping.
The emotional trauma of parental kidnapping and subsequent criminal charges can be significant for children and their accused parents. In addition to the possible legal penalties, an accused parent might suffer from damaged relationships with other family members, difficulty finding or keeping employment, and loss of other privileges.
Why You Need Our Lawyers When Fighting Custodial Kidnapping Charges
Fighting custodial kidnapping charges is an incredibly challenging and emotional experience. At Peakstone Law Group, we understand the gravity of this type of situation and the potential legal and personal consequences you could face if convicted. Our lawyers have a proven track record of success in criminal defense cases, including custodial kidnapping cases. We’re ready to help you.
We offer free and confidential consultations to evaluate the details of your case and provide honest and straightforward advice. When you hire our team, we will work tirelessly to build a solid defense strategy tailored to your unique situation and achieve the best possible outcome. Our legal team is accessible and responsive, and we are always ready to address your needs.
Call Our Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help with Parental Interference Charges
At Peakstone Law Group, we pride ourselves on being personable, down-to-earth, and committed to our clients. We treat you like a person rather than a case number. If you are facing custodial kidnapping charges in Colorado Springs, we stand ready to fight for your rights and best interests every step of the way.
Don’t wait to seek legal representation. Contact Peakstone Law Group, LLC, today for your free consultation.