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What are my defense options if charged with parental kidnapping?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Kidnapping is the crime of taking someone without their consent and holding them against their will. This is a serious crime against an individual. Depending on the nature, kidnapping can be a state of federal crime.

One of the most common forms of kidnapping you can be accused of is parental kidnapping. This happens when one parent takes the child without the permission of the co-parent. If you are accused of parental kidnapping, it is important that you understand the implications of the accusation and the resulting penalties.

Understanding parental kidnapping

Per New Jersey law, parental kidnapping is not merely a custody issue. It is a serious crime with severe penalties if convicted. And no, the old adage that possession is nine-tenths of the law does not hold.

In New Jersey, you can be charged with parental kidnapping under the following circumstances:

  • If you detain a minor with the goal of depriving your co-parent of their custody and/or parenting time
  • If you detain a minor to prevent the court from enforcing custody or protective order on the child
  • If you detain a minor in violation of an existing custody or parenting time order

Defending yourself against a parental kidnapping charge

Parental kidnapping charges are a big deal. The mere fact that you are the parent of the child in question can never be a defense if you did not have the authority to be with the child. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can cite the following defenses if charged with parental kidnapping:

  • The current custody order granted you the authority to be with the child
  • You took the child to protect them from an imminent danger
  • You did not harbor the criminal intent to detain the child

Protecting your rights

Parental kidnapping is a very serious offense under New Jersey law. If you are being accused of kidnapping your own child, it is important that you understand and explore your legal options.