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Legal Statutes: Arkansas

UPDATED September 15, 2017

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Subchapter 5. Custody and Visitation

back to top5-26-502. Interference with court-ordered custody

(a) A person commits the offense of interference with court-ordered custody if the person:

(1) Knowing that he or she has no lawful right to do so, takes, entices, or keeps any minor from any person entitled by a court decree or order to the right of custody of the minor;

(2) Without lawful authority, knowingly or recklessly takes or entices, or aids, abets, hires, or otherwise procures another person to take or entice, any minor or any incompetent person from the custody of:

(A) The parent of the minor or incompetent person;

(B) The guardian of the minor or incompetent person;

(C) A public agency having lawful charge of the minor or incompetent person;

(D) Any other lawful custodian; or

(E) A person described in subdivisions (a)(2)(A), (B), or (D) of this section while the custodian and minor are being housed at a shelter as defined in § 9-4-102;

(3)(A) Has been awarded custody or granted an adoption or guardianship of a juvenile pursuant to or arising out of a dependency-neglect action pursuant to the Arkansas Juvenile Code of 1989, § 9-27-301 et seq., and subsequently places the juvenile in the care or supervision of any person:

(i) From whom the juvenile was removed; or

(ii) The court has specifically ordered not to have care, supervision, or custody of the juvenile.

(B) Subdivision (a)(3)(A) of this section shall not be construed to prohibit a placement described in subdivision (a)(3)(A) of this section if the person who has been granted custody, adoption, or guardianship obtains a court order to that effect from the juvenile division of circuit court that made the award of custody, adoption, or guardianship; or

(4) Accepts or acquiesces in taking physical custody for any length of time of a juvenile who was removed from the person or if the court has specifically ordered that the person not have care, supervision, or custody of the juvenile pursuant to or arising out of a dependency-neglect action pursuant to the Arkansas Juvenile Code of 1989, § 9-27-301 et seq.

(b)(1)(A) Interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(1) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(B) However, interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(1) of this section is a Class D felony if the minor is:

(i) Taken, enticed, or kept outside the State of Arkansas; or

(ii) Taken from any person entitled by a court decree or order to the right of custody of the minor while the custodian and minor are being housed at a shelter as defined in § 9-4-102, even if the minor is not taken outside the State of Arkansas.

(2) Interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(2) of this section is a Class C felony.

(3)(A) Interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(3) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(B) However, any subsequent offense of interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(3) of this section shall constitute a Class C felony.

(4)(A) Interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(4) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(B) However, any subsequent offense of interference with court-ordered custody under subdivision (a)(4) of this section shall constitute a Class C felony.

(c)(1) In every case prior to serving a warrant for arrest on a person charged with the offense of interference with court-ordered custody, the police officer or other law enforcement officer shall inform the Department of Health and Human Services of the circumstances of any minor named in the information or indictment as having been taken, enticed, or kept from the custodian in a manner constituting interference with court-ordered custody or placed with a person prohibited under subdivision (a)(3) of this section.

(2) A representative of the department shall be present with the arresting police officer or law enforcement officer to take the minor into temporary custody of the department pending further proceedings by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(d)(1) A court of competent jurisdiction shall determine the immediate custodial placement of any minor pursuant to a petition brought by the department or an agency of the department to determine if there is probable cause to believe the minor may be:

(A) Removed from the jurisdiction of the court;

(B) Abandoned; or

(C) Outside the immediate care or supervision of a person lawfully entitled to custody.

(2) Except in a situation arising under subdivisions (a)(3) or (4) of this section, the court shall immediately give custody to the lawful custodian if it finds that the lawful custodian is present before the court.

(e)(1) A petitioner shall comply with the requirements of § 9-27-312 with regard to the giving of a notice and the setting of a hearing.

(2) The petitioner is immune from liability with respect to any conduct undertaken pursuant to this section unless it is determined that the petitioner acted with actual malice.



Acts of 1985, Act 540, § 2; Acts of 1987, Act 483, § 1; Acts of 1987, Act 898, § 1; Acts of 1995, Act 1343, § 1; Acts of 2001, Act 1503, § 16, eff. Aug. 13, 2001; Acts of 2001, Act 1553, § 11, eff. Aug. 13, 2001; Acts of 2005, Act 1870, § 1, eff. Aug. 12, 2005.