You think your child’s other parent is a horrible person. As a result, you want to protect him or her from that parent. Maybe you sent your child out of state or hid them when the other parent came to visit. Under these circumstances, however, you may be charged with child abduction—even though the child is your own.

The crime of child abduction by a parent is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. Child abduction can include intentionally violating a custody order by concealing or detaining the child or taking the child out of the court’s jurisdiction.

While married to the other parent, you may not knowingly hide, keep or remove the child with physical force or its threat. Nor can you do so because someone without legal custody has promised to pay you.

If you have been charged with child abduction or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Even under the above circumstances, there are certain defenses. Perhaps you had legal custody or visitation rights at the time of your violation or perhaps you were fleeing domestic violence.

At times, there may be circumstances beyond your control. If so, you must make reasonable attempts within 24 hours after visitation ends to notify the other parent about those circumstances as well as the child’s whereabouts and how the child can be contacted. You must also return the child as soon as possible.

In one Illinois case, the court overturned the putative father’s conviction because the state did not prove he had taken the child without the mother’s consent. (See People v Cole).

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email Source: Illinois Child Abduction Statute.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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