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In California, child abduction is defined by California Penal Code 278 as the purposeful and deceitful taking, luring, keeping or concealing a minor with the intent of removing another person of their rights to authorized custody or visitation with the child.
Many times, abductions are committed by parents, grandparents, in-laws or other close relatives. Any person who does not have the lawful right of guardianship or custody of the child and has committed any of the acts under California Statutes is guilty of the crime of child abduction.
California Penal Code 278, defines child abduction as two separate crimes:
Child abduction is different to kidnapping in that kidnapping is a crime solely against the person kidnapped. Child abduction is also a crime against the abducted child but also against that child’s lawful parent. Moving or transporting the child is not necessary to be guilty of child abduction, only the intent to detain or conceal the child from their legal guardian. The penalties for the child abduction of a person under the age of 14 is more severe.
A conviction of child abduction carries penalties of up to 4 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. If you are convicted of kidnapping you face the possibility of up to 8 years in prison. If the victim was a child under the age of 14, you could face up to 11 years in a California state prison. If any ransom was involved, a life sentence can be imposed.
Several factors will be considered during the penalty phase of a trial including:
In California, child abduction is considered a “wobbler” crime which means the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on particular factors in the case.
A child abduction case will involve careful scrutiny of the circumstances and consideration of all elements in order to determine the penalty required.
There are many ways an attorney can defend someone accused of child abduction. Some of the ways a child abduction case can be defended are:
If you have been charged with child abduction in Los Angeles you should immediately contact a Los Angeles child abduction lawyer to represent you against this serious charge.