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Custodial Interference

When parents separate or get divorced, custody of children often becomes one of the most contentious issues, if not the single biggest issue. In certain cases, parents who disagree with the decisions of judges decide to take matters into their own hands and knowingly violate the terms of custody or visitation imposed by the courts.

If an individual fails to return a child to the other parent or comply with the terms of a custody or visitation order, that person may be charged with custodial interference. While custodial interference is often a misdemeanor offense, certain factors can make this crime a felony that carries serious consequences.

Lawyer for Custodial Interference Arrests in Queens, NY

Were you arrested in New York City for alleged custodial interference? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal representation. Contact Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner as soon as possible for help protecting your rights and achieving the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.

Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner aggressively defends clients accused of domestic violence crimes throughout New York County, Bronx County, Kings County, and Queens County. She can review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner to schedule a free initial consultation.


Overview of Custodial Interference in New York


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Custodial Interference Charges in New York City

A person commits Custodial Interference in the Second Degree under New York Penal Law § 135.45 when he or she either:

  • Being a relative of a child less than 16 years old, intending to hold such child permanently or for a protracted period, and knowing that he or she has no legal right to do so, takes or entices such child from his or her lawful custodian; or
  • Knowing that he or she has no legal right to do so, takes or entices from lawful custody any incompetent person or other person entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution.

Custodial Interference in the Second Degree can be enhanced to Custodial Interference in the First Degree under New York Penal Law § 135.50 if an alleged offender commits the crime of Custodial Interference in the Second Degree and either:

  • With intent to permanently remove the alleged victim from this state, he or she removes such person from the state; or
  • Under circumstances which expose the alleged victim to a risk that his or her safety will be endangered or his or her health materially impaired.

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Custodial Interference Penalties in Queens

Custodial Interference in the Second Degree is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Custodial Interference in the First Degree is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

State law does provide that it is an affirmative defense to a charge of Custodial Interference in the First Degree if the alleged victim had been abandoned or if the taking of the person was necessary in an emergency to protect the victim because he or she had been subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse. A conviction for Custodial Interference can also have significant additional onsequences for any future custody agreements.


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New York Resources for Custodial Interference Offenses

New York City Family Court | Custody & Visitation FAQs — Visit this section of the New York State Unified Court System website to find answers to frequently asked questions about custody and visitation. The website establishes the difference between an order of custody and an order of visitation, but also has information about having orders of custody or visitation changed. You can also find a link to the Custody/Visitation Enforcement Petition Program that allows you to fill out the petition that you will need to file in Family Court.

People v. Garcia, 2014 NY Slip Op 24351 — Nancy Garcia was charged with Custodial Interference in the Second Degree after she picked up her daughter from school on April 25, 2014, in violation of a Family Court Order granting custody of the child to the child's father. The Criminal Court in New York County determined that the Information (also known as the Criminal Court Complaint) was facially insufficient because it did not make out a prima facie case that Garcia intended to hold the child for a “protracted period,” and that she knew she lacked the legal right to pick the child up from school. While the Family Court Order established that Garcia lacked the legal right to pick the child up from school, the Information failed to allege that she knew about this order because neither of the two service options—service by mail or service in person—was checked.


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Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | Queens Custodial Interference Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for alleged Custodial Interference in New York City, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner can investigate false or exaggerated allegations by alleged victims or parents and work to get criminal charges eliminated or minimized.

Rochelle S. Berliner is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Queens who represents individuals all over New York City, including Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and several other nearby communities. Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation


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Free Consultation

Submit your information using this form to schedule a free consultation with attorney Rochelle Berliner.

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