Deprivation of Custodial Rights
Violating a child custody agreement has serious consequences that can range from contempt of court to loss of custodial rights. However, there are extreme situations where the consequences can include criminal charges.
Charges for depriving someone of their custodial rights is not only reserved for parents. As a result, grandparents, foster parents or anyone who has had a custodial relationship with the child can be charged for the offense.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Apple Valley
Deprivation of custodial rights has the potential to be charged as a felony, which is why it’s imperative you retain legal representation. James Blumberg is a dedicated criminal defense attorney with more than a decade of experience in the field. He will guide you through the complicated legal process and aggressively advocate on your behalf.
Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to speak with us more about your case. We defend clients in areas such as Dakota County, Ramsey County, Scott County and Washington County.
- What is Deprivation of Custodial Rights?
- How is Deprivation of Custodial Rights Charged in MN?
- Possible Defenses
- Additional Resources
What is Deprivation of Custodial Rights?
Deprivation of custodial rights is similar to kidnapping in that it involves taking someone without consent. What makes deprivation different is the offense involves removing a child with the intention of depriving a legal guarding of their parental rights.
For instance, a grandmother was given temporary custody of her grandson while the child’s mother was serving time in jail. When the mother is released, the grandmother refuses to return the child because she believes the child would be better off with her, and as a result, she flees the state.
Various other acts are deemed deprivation of custodial rights. According to the Minnesota Statutes, these acts include:
- Hiding a minor child from their parent with the intention to deprive the parent of their parental rights, parenting time or custody
- Failing to return a minor child in violation of a court order transferring legal custody to the commissioner of human services, a child-placing agency or a social service agency
- Failing to return a minor child to their parent in violation of a custody agreement with the intent to deprive the parent of their parenting time or custody
- Failing to return a minor child to a parent after agreeing on parenting time or custody, but before an order has been issued and with the intent to deprive the other parent of their parenteral rights
- Keeping a child in Minnesota knowing the child was removed from another state in violation of either a court or other enforceable order
- Refusing to return a child to its parent or legal guardian and you are at least 18 years old and more than two years older than the minor
- Causes or contributes to a minor child being habitually absent from school and you are at least 18 years old and more than two years older than the minor
- Causes or contributes to a minor child being a runaway and you are at least 18 years old and more than two years older than the minor
- Living with a child younger than 16 without the consent of the minor’s parents or legal guardian and you are at least 18 years old
The court understands people make mistakes, which is why they grant those accused of the offense to have the charges dismissed. One situation where the charges for deprivation of custodial rights will be dropped is if the child is voluntarily returned within 48 hours. However, this does not apply if the child is only returned as a result of being found by law enforcement.
How is Deprivation of Custodial Rights Charged in Minnesota?
As with most criminal charges, you will be penalized based on factors of your case. Such factors range from demanding ransom for the child’s return to making physical threats. Listed below are the possible penalties for deprivation of custodial rights:
- Causing or contributing to a child being habitually absent from school is a gross misdemeanor punishable by the following:
- Up to 90 days in jail; or
- A fine of up to $1,000; or
- Both a fine and incarceration
- Committing any of the acts mentioned in the section above, aside from causing/contributing to habitual absence, is a felony punishable by the following:
- Up to two years in prison; or
- A fine of up to $4,000; or
- Both a fine and incarceration
- It is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $8,000 or both a fine and incarceration if any of the following apply to your case:
- You possessed a dangerous weapon or caused substantial bodily harm while committing the offense
- You abused or neglected the child while committing the offense
- You inflicted or threatened to inflict physical harm on a parent, legal guardian or child with the intention to cause the parent or legal guardian to stop criminal proceedings
- You demanded money or relief of any legal or financial obligations to support the child in exchange for returning the child
- You have been previously convicted of the offense or a similar crime in another jurisdiction
You will likely lose any parental or visitation rights if you are convicted of the offense as a parent or legal guardian. You will also be labeled a convicted felon, which can result in being fired from your job, having a difficult time finding a new one and finding access to housing.
Retaining a defense lawyer should be your first line of defense when faced with charges for deprivation of custodial rights. Various defense strategies are available for deprivation charges, so not all hope is lost. Keep in mind; no two cases are alike, so the defenses mentioned may not be suitable for your case.
Possible defenses to deprivation charges include:
- You had reason to believe your actions were necessary to protect the child from physical or sexual harm or substantial emotional harm
- You had reason to believe your actions were necessary to protect you from physical or sexual assault
- Your actions were authorized by the court prior to violating the statute
- The child’s parent or legal guardian seeking prosecution consented to your actions
Depriving Another of Custodial or Parental Rights | Minnesota Statutes – Read the laws governing deprivation of custodial rights. You can view a full list of actions that can result in charges, where a case might be tried and situations where charges may be dismissed. The statute can be read on the official website of the Minnesota Legislature.
Child Custody & Parenting Time | Minnesota Judicial Branch – Follow the link provided to gain access to information about child custody and parenting time. You can find a list of laws related to child custody and parenting time, answers to frequently asked questions and links to additional legal resources.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Apple Valley
Being falsely accused of deprivation of custodial rights can be devastating. Your community will assume you tried to kidnap the child and the police will be unwilling to listen to your side of the story. James Blumberg Law will ensure your voice is heard. James Blumberg will work tirelessly on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for your situation.
Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a time to speak with us. We are based in Apple Valley but regularly assist clients in areas such as Ham Lake, Minneapolis and Chaska.