Friday, November 16, 2007

Family Law and Kidnapping

The Florida Divorce Blog's Kidnapping or Custodial Interference? article prompted me to write. The specific portion of the Florida article inspiring this post is:

"One of the most common questions that parents pose to family lawyers arises from threats by one parent to have the other parent arrested for kidnapping."


Part of his defense was that he was incorrectly charged with kidnapping his children. At worst, his attorney apparently argued, he should have been charged with interference with custody. That is a lesser charge, with a maximum penalty of two years.
Indiana criminal law has a lot more clarity. Kidnapping requires a ransom (IC 35-42-3-2). Not many parents take their children and ask for a ransom. Indiana also has Interference with custody (IC 35-42-3-4). Yes, it Interference with custody has a lesser penalty than kidnapping - a D felony if the child is older than 14 years and no violence was used, a C felony if the child is younger than 14 and no violence, but is a B felony if violence is used regardless of the child's age.

I had one case years ago where the father took the children and their mother and held them at knifepoint. The State of Indiana charged him with criminal confinement and on the civil side he lost all visitation with his children.

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