The penalties are steep for parental kidnapping in Colorado. Still, the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction can occur.
The elements required to establish a violation of custody order or parental responsibilities order include:
- You knowingly took or enticed a minor from their parent or legal guardian
- You did not have the privilege to remove the child from the parent or legal guardian’s care
- You had the intent to keep or conceal the child from their parent or legal guardian
With that in mind, a Colorado criminal defense attorney may be able to help you get your charges dismissed or reduced by using the following defenses:
- You believed that your conduct was necessary to protect the child from danger to their welfare
- The child was age 14 or older, and you took the child at their own instigation without the intent to commit a crime
- You had the legal right to take the child
- You did not intend to deprive the parent or guardian of custody
- You did not know you did not have a legal right to take the child
When you’re facing a violation of a custody order or order relating to parental responsibilities, you have the right to a strong defense. Put experience on your side by contacting a Colorado criminal defense attorney for help with your case.
Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-3-304:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2.5) of this section, any person, including a natural or foster parent, who, knowing that he or she has no privilege to do so or heedless in that regard, takes or entices any child under the age of eighteen years from the custody or care of the child’s parents, guardian, or other lawful custodian or person with parental responsibilities with respect to the child commits a class 5 felony.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2.5) of this section, any parent or other person who violates an order of any district or juvenile court of this state, granting the custody of a child or parental responsibilities with respect to a child under the age of eighteen years to any person, agency, or institution, with the intent to deprive the lawful custodian or person with parental responsibilities of the custody or care of a child under the age of eighteen years, commits a class 5 felony.
(2.5) Any person who, in the course of committing the offenses described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section, removes a child under the age of eighteen years from this country commits a class 4 felony.
(3) It shall be an affirmative defense either that the offender reasonably believed that his conduct was necessary to preserve the child from danger to his welfare, or that the child, being at the time more than fourteen years old, was taken away at his own instigation without enticement and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.
(4) Any criminal action charged pursuant to this section may be tried in either the county where the act is committed or in which the court issuing the orders granting custody or allocating parental responsibilities is located, if such court is within this state.
(5) Repealed by Laws 1986, H.B.1225, § 1.