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What Is Considered Parental Kidnapping in Colorado? 

Child custody cases are often contentious and highly emotional. In some situations, they can get really out of hand, leading to allegations of parental kidnapping. If you are being accused of this serious charge, you must work with a Lakewood criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in handling these serious cases. Contact The Law Offices of Elaine E. Lukic for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 

What Is the Law on Parental Kidnapping in Colorado? 

Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-304 defines the crime as “Violation of custody order or order relating to parental responsibilities.” Under this law, it is illegal to knowingly take or entice a child under 18 years old from the custody of their parent or lawful guardian without having the legal authority to do so. This offense can apply even if the defendant is not a parent to the child. It is also illegal to violate a custody order of the state with the intent of depriving the lawful custodian with parental responsibilities of the custody of the child. Therefore, preventing communication or limiting telephone access with the child can be considered custodial interference in Colorado.

Factors Courts Consider in Parental Kidnapping Cases

When a court is determining whether parental kidnapping occurred or there was simply a misunderstanding or slight deviation from the custody plan, courts consider factors such as:

  • The amount of time the child was out of the custody of the rightful parent
  • Whether the person who took the child expressed an intent to keep the child
  • Whether the parent with custody rights knew the child’s location
  • Whether the child was taken to another state or out of the country in violation of the custody order

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can review the circumstances and attack the prosecution’s case against you.

Potential Penalties for Parental Kidnapping in Colorado 

Parental kidnapping is generally charged as a Class 5 felony in Colorado, which carries a potential sentence of one to three years in a Colorado State Prison and up to $100,000 in fines. However, if the child was taken out of the country as part of the offense, the crime is considered a Class 4 felony, which carries a potential penalty of two to six years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. 

Additionally, the parent could also be subject to contempt, which could result in the loss of custody rights and other penalties. Because these penalties can be so consequential, it’s vital to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Potential Defenses to Parental Kidnapping Charges 

There may be viable defenses to parental kidnapping charges. For example, Colorado law specifically recognizes the affirmative defenses of taking the child to protect them from danger or that the child was at least 15 years old and asked to be taken. I can explore these and other defenses when you hire me to represent you in your case.

Call for a free case review with an experienced Colorado criminal defense lawyer.

If you are facing parental kidnapping or custodial interference charges, contact me, Elaine E. Lukic, for a free case review. I am a former prosecutor with more than 25 years of experience I can leverage on your behalf. Call me directly at 800-478-8859  or send an online message to set up a free and confidential consultation.