In Criminal Defense cases in Pennsylvania, it is a crime to take a child from its parents or guardian without permission. This crime is known as interference with custody of children. Per the PA crimes code title 18 section 2904, a person should retain a Criminal Defense attorney if he is accused of interference with custody of children. An accused can be convicted if he Perjury knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from the custody of its parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, when he has no privilege to do so. You can be charged with this crime whether the child in your custody is your child or not. There are several different defenses that you can argue to interference with custody of children. It is a defense that the actor believed that his action was necessary to preserve the child from danger to its welfare; or the child, being at the time not less than 14 years old, was taken away at its own instigation without enticement and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child; or the actor is the child’s parent or guardian or other lawful custodian and is not acting contrary to an order entered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Interference with custody of children is a serious offense that carries harsh penalties. If you commit this crime, you are committing a felony of the third degree. If you are found guilty, you could face a possible penalty of up to 7 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $15,000. If you, not being a parent or person in equivalent relation to the child, acted with knowledge that your conduct would cause serious alarm for the safety of the child, or in reckless disregard of a likelihood of causing such alarm, you are committing a felony of the second degree. If you are found guilty, you could face a possible penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $25,000. You are committing a misdemeanor of the second degree if you acted with good cause for a period of time not in excess of 24 hours and the victim child is the subject of a valid order of custody issued by a court of this commonwealth; you have been given either partial custody or visitation rights under said order; Carrying a false ID and you are a resident of this Commonwealth and do not remove the child from the Commonwealth. If you are found guilty, you could face a possible penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $5,000. If you or someone you know is facing interference with custody of children charges, it is important to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney will best be able to assess your case and produce the best possible outcome for your case.