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Legal Statutes: Tennessee

UPDATED June 16, 2017

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Part 1. Assaultive Offenses

back to top39-13-306. Custodial interference

(a) It is the offense of custodial interference for a natural or adoptive parent, step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew of a child younger than eighteen (18) years of age to:

(1) Remove the child from this state knowing that the removal violates a child custody determination as defined in § 36-6-205, the rightful custody of a mother as defined in § 36-2-303, or a temporary or permanent judgment or court order regarding the custody or care of the child;

(2) Detain the child within this state or remove the child from this state after the expiration of the noncustodial natural or adoptive parent or guardian's lawful period of visitation, with the intent to violate the rightful custody of a mother as defined in § 36-2-303, or a temporary or permanent judgment or a court order regarding the custody or care of the child;

(3) Harbor or hide the child within or outside this state, knowing that possession of the child was unlawfully obtained by another person in violation of the rightful custody of a mother as defined in § 36-2-303, or a temporary or permanent judgment or a court order;

(4) Act as an accessory to any act prohibited by this section; or

(5) Detain the child within or remove the child from this state during the noncustodial parent's lawful period of visitation, with the intent to violate the court-ordered visitation of the noncustodial parent, or a temporary or permanent judgment regarding visitation with the child.

(b) It is also the offense of custodial interference for a natural or adoptive parent, step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew of an incompetent person to:

(1) Remove the incompetent person from this state knowing that the removal violates a temporary or permanent judgment or a court order regarding the custody or care of the incompetent person;

(2) Harbor or hide the incompetent person within or outside this state, knowing that possession of the incompetent person was unlawfully obtained by another person in violation of a temporary or permanent judgment or a court order; or

(3) Act as an accessory to any act prohibited by this section.

(c) It is a defense to custodial interference:

(1) That the person who removed the child or incompetent person reasonably believed that, at the time the child or incompetent was removed, the failure to remove the child or incompetent person would have resulted in a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the child or incompetent person; or

(2) That the individual detained or moved in contravention of the rightful custody of a mother as defined in § 36-2-303, or of the order of custody or care, was returned by the defendant voluntarily and before arrest or the issuance of a warrant for arrest.

(d) If conduct that is in violation of this section is also a violation of § 39-13-304 or § 39-13-305(a)(1), (a)(3), or (a)(4), the offense may be prosecuted under any of the applicable statutes.

(e)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (e)(2), custodial interference is a Class E felony, unless the person taken from lawful custody is returned voluntarily by the defendant, in which case custodial interference is a Class A misdemeanor.

(2) Custodial interference under subdivision (a)(5) is a Class C misdemeanor.

1989 Pub.Acts, c. 591, § 1; 1990 Pub.Acts, c. 982, § 1; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 834, § 1, eff. July 1, 2004; 2016 Pub.Acts, c. 725, §§ 1, 2, eff. July 1, 2016.