Parental Kidnapping Defense Attorney in Michigan
A parent convicted of parental kidnapping faces severe penalties, including fines, incarceration, and potentially losing parenting time or custody.
Divorce and Custody Issues are Gut-Wrenching
A divorce or custody dispute can be exhausting, financially draining, and emotionally maddening. When a parent feels mistreated in family court or their children are in danger with their other parent, the emotional toll can be severe. A parent operating under such circumstances might decide that extreme measures are necessary to protect their children or act impulsively when a court order has an unfair impact. Allegations of parental kidnapping in Michigan necessitate the most vigorous possible defense to avoid potentially life-altering consequences. Do not risk your freedom and time with your children when a powerful, influential defense law firm is ready, willing, and able to help you.
What is parental kidnapping in Michigan?
Michigan’s parental kidnapping law prohibits an adoptive or natural parent of a child from taking that child, or retain that child for more than 24 hours, with the intent to detain or conceal the child from any other parent or legal guardian of the child who has custody or parenting time rights under a lawful court order at the time of the taking or retention, or from the person or persons who have adopted the child, or from any other person having lawful charge of the child at the time of the taking or retention.
In other words, a parent may not take or keep their child for more than a day to hide the child from any other parent or legal guardian who has custody or parenting rights under a court order. The two elements to a parental kidnapping charge in Michigan are (1) that a parent or legal guardian took their child or hid them for over 24 hours and (2) that the intent of the parent or legal guardian was to keep or hide the child from another parent or legal guardian during such time they had legal custody or visitation rights according to a court order.
What is the punishment for parental kidnapping?
A conviction for Parental Kidnapping in Michigan might result in a fine of $2,000.00, imprisonment for not more than 1 year and 1 day, or both. Additionally, the court can order the offender to pay thousands of dollars in restitution to the other parent.
In certain circumstances, a judge might be persuaded to take a guilty plea under advisement and defer the prosecution for a period to allow the offender time to prove they do not deserve a criminal conviction. In Michigan, the non-offending parent or legal guardian must agree to a deferred plea to parental kidnapping. A state prosecutor is most likely to agree to a plea with a deferred sentence when a zealous and respected defense lawyer is tenaciously fighting for their client.
If a parent successfully completes a term of probation under a deferred adjudication, the court will dismiss the charges without an adjudication of guilt or a conviction.
If the child is removed from Michigan, the offending parent could face federal criminal charges, such as federal parental kidnapping with a maximum prison sentence of up to three years.
If I’m convicted of parental kidnapping, will I lose my kids?
A family court judge is likely to impose sanctions against an offending parent convicted or found guilty of parental kidnapping. Although a complete loss of custody is rare, adjustments in parenting time and rights to custody are common. Family and criminal court rules are different, and one lawyer should not handle both the custody dispute and the parental kidnapping charges. It is in the accused best interest to hire a criminal defense specialist to handle the criminal charges and have a top family law lawyer handle the family court case. By analogy, if a person’s cardiologist discovers a neurological issue, the patient would want a neurologist to treat that issue, not the cardiologist. Each type of doctor is a specialist in their respective area of medicine. Similarly, the expertise of a parental kidnapping defense lawyer and a family law lawyer is consequentially different. Your best hope of avoiding a conviction and not losing custody or parenting time is by hiring a criminal defense specialist to protect and defend you in criminal court. For fathers in Michigan, many judges start off with a bias against dads in family law and criminal courts and the fight can seem impossibly uphill without a lawyer who is fearless and tenacious by your side.
What if your child’s been taken or hidden by their other parent and the police will not help you?
Because police agencies are sometimes reluctant to send these charges for authorization, prosecutors rarely pursue them. Law enforcement frequently refuses to intervene when a parent calls the police to report a custody or parenting time order violation. The officers will “remind” the parties that this is a “civil matter” that should be resolved by filing papers in the family court that granted the underlying order. On the motion of a party, the family law judge can utilize civil or criminal contempt powers to penalize offenders with fines or jail. If law enforcement does act, it is usually in the most severe parental kidnapping situations, such as when physical abuse or even fleeing the country are involved.
You do not have to take “no” for an answer! If you feel the police or prosecutors are not taking a parental kidnapping situation seriously, you have the right to hire legal counsel to protect your rights. An experienced Victim’s Advocate, like the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can amplify your voice and ensure that those with the power to protect you and your children do their jobs. We do not take “no” for an answer when it comes to a child’s safety and security!
Defense Attorneys for Parental Kidnapping Michigan
The defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of success defending clients charged with Parental Kidnapping and other criminal offenses in Michigan. By utilizing a unique team approach, our Defense Team will turn over every stone and do whatever it takes to achieve the best possible result. Ultimately, our goal is to seek dismissal of Parental Kidnapping charges in Michigan. If you face Parental Kidnapping allegations or if your child is being kept from you by their other parent, we can help you at a fair and affordable price. Call us for a free consultation, and we will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy for you and your child or children.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.