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Los Angeles Child Abduction / Child Stealing Lawyers

Los Angeles Child Abduction / Child Stealing Lawyers

According to California law, Child Abduction–also known as Child Stealing–is the purposeful and deceitful taking of, keeping, luring away, or concealing of a minor with the intent of stripping another person of his/her right to authorized custody or visitation. More often than not, child abduction is committed by someone with close ties to the child, such as parents, grandparents, in-laws, close relatives, and other family members who have no lawful rights to the child in the way of custody or visitation.

If you believe you have or may be accused of child abduction or child stealing, you are urged to seek counsel from a defense attorney immediately to minimize your risk of an arrest. Our attorneys have years of experience representing clients who have been charged with child abduction, and in many of these cases, we’ve successfully helped them to avoid both arrest and criminal prosecution.

Child Abduction Penalties and Punishment

Anyone accused of child abduction in LA should expect to be aggressively and mercilessly litigated by the seasoned prosecutors in the Los Angeles’ District Attorney’s office.

Child Abduction prosecutions are charged under:

  • California Penal Code 278 (Child Abduction Without Custodial Right)


  • California Penal Code 278.5 (Child Abduction With Custodial Right)

The most crucial difference between these two laws is that the first law is aimed at individuals who have no legal custodial rights to the minor they are accused of stealing, whereas the latter law targets individuals who hold legal custody of the taken child and abduct the minor child from another person who holds the same legal custody. The person responsible for interfering with the custodial parent or person’s custody or visitation will be prosecuted under Penal Code 278.5.

If convicted, the penalties for Child Abduction can range in severity from a misdemeanor charge with a maximum punishment of up to one year in county jail and three years of probation to a felony charge with a maximum punishment of two to four years in state prison plus a sizable fine of up to $10,000.

Common Legal Defenses

Our attorneys are experienced at raising several common legal defenses for individuals facing Child Abduction charges:

  • You retained legal custody of the minor child you are accused of abducting (or stealing), and therefore you are not guilty of the accused offense.
  • You took the minor child from a person whom was not the legal custodian of the child.
  • You did not take the child to be malicious – instead, you abducted the minor child with good intentions, such as preventing the child from suffering physical or emotional harm while in the care of the custodial parent or guardian.

For a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for Child Abduction, he or she must prove that the person accused of abduction kept, lured away, withheld, or concealed a minor with the malicious and purposeful intent of depriving another person of their legal rights to custody or visitation. If the prosecutor fails to prove this, the jury is required to return a verdict of not guilty in the case.

Los Angeles Child Abduction and Child Stealing Defense Attorney

If you have been or feel that you may be accused of Child Abduction or Child Stealing, you need to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to increase your chance of avoiding arrest and a conviction. At our firm, we will be dedicated to fighting for you and your case. We promise to answer any questions you may have and address any concerns surrounding your case. Contact our office today to begin discussing your legal situation in a confidential setting with our professionals, and learn more about the legal options that are available to you.

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