§ 16-1023. Defense to prosecution; continuous offenses; expenses; jurisdiction
(a) No person violates this subchapter if the action:
(1) Is taken to protect the child from imminent physical harm;
(2) Is taken by a parent fleeing from imminent physical harm to the parent;
(3) Is consented to by the other parent; or
(4) Is otherwise authorized by law.
(b) If a person violates § 16-1022 of this subchapter, the person may file a petition in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia that:
(1) States that at the time the act was done, a failure to do the act would have resulted in a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the child; and
(2) Seeks to establish custody, to transfer custody, or to revise or to clarify the existing custody order; except that if the Superior Court of the District of Columbia does not have jurisdiction over the custody issue, the person shall seek to establish, transfer, revise, or clarify custody in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) If a petition is filed as provided in subsection (b) of this section within 5 days of the action taken, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, a finding by the court that, at the time the act was done, a failure to do the act would have resulted in a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the child is a complete defense to prosecution under this subchapter.
(d) A law enforcement officer may take a child into protective custody if it reasonably appears to the officer that any person is in violation of this subchapter and unlawfully will flee the District with the child.
(e) A child who has been detained or concealed shall be returned by a law enforcement officer to the lawful custodian or placed in the custody of another entity authorized by law.
(f) The offenses prohibited by this subchapter are continuous in nature and continue for so long as the child is concealed, harbored, secreted, detained, or otherwise unlawfully physically removed from the lawful custodian.
(g) Any expenses incurred by the District in returning the child shall be reimbursed to the District by any person convicted of a violation of this subchapter. Those expenses and costs reasonably incurred by the lawful custodian and child victim as a result of a violation of this subchapter shall be assessed by the court against any person convicted of the violation.
(h) Any violation of this subchapter is punishable in the District, whether the intent to commit the offense is formed within or without the District, if the child was a resident of the District, present in the District at the time of the taking, or is later found in the District.