Child Custody and Criminal Violations of Witholding the Child From the Other Parent Under Penal Code Section § 278.5

At the Law office of David P Schwarz we have dealt with many cases where a child has been withheld from the other parent and leads to criminal prosecution. Please contact our Orange County office at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached by email at

A child custody lawyer can help you get criminal prosecution of violation of a child custody order started. Every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.

In addition the criminal court can seek contempt action against the parent who violates the order. That way the court can impose the maximize amount of authority over the violator. Nothing contained in this section limits the court's contempt power.

A child custody lawyer will fight any attempt by the other parent to obtain a custody order after the taking, enticing away, keeping, withholding, or concealing of a child. This after the fact custody order does not constitute a defense to a crime charged under this section.

At the Law office of David P Schwarz we are prepared to fight against any weak defense the violating parent might bring up in criminal court. One such defense is Mistake of law. It is a defense where the mistake negates the specific intent required for the crime. In cases of violation of child custody orders, the specific intent required for the crime is the intent to deprive another person of that person's right to custody or visitation. However, a mistake of law instruction is only appropriate where the evidence supports a reasonable inference that the claimed mistake was held in good faith. 

Another criminal action can be kidnapping. A child custody lawyer will coordinate with the authorities to go after the parent violating the order. Kidnapping can occur under penal code section 209. Any person who seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away another person by any means whatsoever with intent to hold or detain, or who holds or detains, that person for ransom, reward or to commit extortion or to exact from another person any money or valuable thing, or any person who aids or abets any such act, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison parole in cases where no such person suffers death or bodily harm.

At the Orange County Law office of David P Schwarz we are prepared to promote the safety and welfare of our client who might be under the situation where their child was abducted by the other parent. Please contact our office at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached by email at

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