Parental kidnapping in Oklahoma is a serious crime. This crime occurs when one parent takes a child from the other parent without legal permission. In the United States, parental kidnapping is most common type of kidnapping, as parents are more likely to commit the crime than non-parents. Normally this kind of kidnapping is part of an ongoing child custody case or a divorce. Most state laws, including those of Oklahoma, make parental kidnapping a criminal offense.
Oklahoma Kidnapping Law
Under Oklahoma criminal law, parental kidnapping is a felony-level offense. Oklahoma does not distinguish between kidnapping by a parent and kidnapping by a non-parent. Just like any other form of kidnapping parental kidnapping is a specific intent crime. That means that the parent must act with the specific intent to maliciously, forcibly, or fraudulently take the child from the other parent.
Parental Kidnapping In Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma law, kidnapping occurs when a person maliciously, forcibly, or fraudulently takes or entices away a child under 16 years old with the intent to detain or conceal the child from a parent or other person lawfully in charge of the child. It is also kidnapping when a person transports a child from Oklahoma or the United States without the legal custodian’s consent. Upon conviction, defendants can be punished with imprisonment for up to 20 years.
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA)
The federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) establishes national standards for jurisdiction in interstate custody disputes. The PKPA imposes a duty on all states to enforce other states’ custody orders if the order is consistent with the PKPA’s provisions. If a state’s statute affecting child custody conflicts with the Act, the PKPA controls legal disputes, not state law.
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What If A Parent Leaves Oklahoma With A Child?
In Oklahoma, the crime of parental kidnapping occurs if a parent takes a child from Oklahoma to another state or country without the other parent’s permission or another person legally responsible for the child. Kidnapping is also a violation of an Oklahoma custody order. This is true even if the child consents or does not resist leaving the state. Kidnapping rests on the legal custodian or parent’s lack of consent.
Preventing Parental Kidnapping?
A parent can request a hearing if there are reasonable concerns about parental abduction. Concerns must be proved with evidence, such as witness testimony or documentation. A parent can seek also request an emergency temporary restraining order or custody order that states that the other parent cannot leave the state without permission. If a custody order is already in place, a parent can request to modify the order to state the prohibition.
Defenses to Parental Kidnapping
A parent can defend against a kidnapping charge with proof that leaving the state was legally allowed. Judges look to custody orders to determine whether the charged parent was legally allowed to have custody at the time and leave the state with the child. It is also a defense if the parent and child were fleeing from the threat of domestic abuse. This threat must be from the other parent or legal custodian. The latter defense is an admission that the fleeing parent violated the custody order but did so because it was necessary to keep the child safe.
Tulsa Kidnapping Attorneys Near You
The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at the Kania Law Office are experienced in cases involving parental kidnapping charges. We can help you address the legal and emotional issues inherent to those cases. For more information about how our family and criminal defense lawyers can help you call today. (918) 743-2233 or contact us online.