Los Angeles Deprivation of Child Custody or Right to Visitation
Deprivation of Parental Rights: Understanding California Penal Code 278.5
Depriving a parent of child custody or visitation rights is a heinous crime that falls under the jurisdiction of California Penal Code 278.5. According to the provisions of this penal code, anyone who intentionally denies another adult of their right to visitation or custody of a child is committing a crime.
The term “child detention” is often used to distinguish this crime from child abduction, especially given that the deprivation of parental rights can even be committed by someone who has those very same rights. If there is more than one child involved, an individual may be charged with multiple violations of Penal Code 278.5.
When circumstances allow for it, a person can face either a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the severity of the crime committed. A misdemeanor charge usually results in a one-year imprisonment in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
In contrast, a felony charge for child custody deprivation could lead to a harsher penalty of up to $10,000 in fines and a three-year incarceration in the county jail. Felony sentencing may occur in circumstances like the ones discussed below.
1. Exposure of the child to potential illness or harm
2. Actual harm or abandonment of the child
3. Failure to return the child to their lawful guardian
4. Crossing U.S. boundaries with the child
5. Altering the appearance or name of the child with deceitful intent
6. Interrupting or denying the child’s education
7. Abducting an underage child
In cases where the charges are less severe, mitigating factors can lead to lighter sentences. An example of a mitigating factor could be the fact that the accused gave information about the child’s location or returned a child unharmed before their arrest.
Child custody deprivation often arises from divorce, unfavorable child custody disputes, or fear for the child’s safety while under custodial supervision. These situations often result in imprudent actions taken in an attempt to improve complicated scenarios.
For instance, if a custodial grandparent believes a parent is unfit to raise a child after completing drug therapy, they may refuse to give back the child. Furthermore, a man may deny returning children following visitation due to anger provoked by his ex-wife’s living conditions. In the same vein, a woman who has been a victim of domestic abuse may leave with her children, making it difficult to contact her.
Legal defense against charges of child custody deprivation typically involves determining who has legal custody rights over the child. It is common for one parent to accuse the other of child detention when there have been no formal custody arrangements.
Instances of false accusations of deprivation rights of custody are rampant. Separation anxiety with an estranged spouse can drive one to seek revenge tactics – accusing their former partner of child custody deprivation falsely.
In light of these issues, a criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles can address allegations of child custody deprivation and help clients weigh their options. A reputable lawyer specializing in family law can determine whether the charges contained therein are founded on fact or falsehood.
To discuss your case in detail, call us now to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS