Selected State Statutes: Georgia

Statutes: Georgia

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16-5-45. Interference with custody

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Child” means any individual who is under the age of 17 years or any individual who is under the age of 18 years who is alleged to be a dependent child or a child in need of services as such terms are defined in Code Section 15-11-2.

(2) “Committed person” means any child or other person whose custody is entrusted to another individual by authority of law.

(3) “Lawful custody” means that custody inherent in the natural parents, that custody awarded by proper authority as provided in Code Section 15-11-133, or that custody awarded to a parent, guardian, or other person by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(4) “Service provider” means an entity that is registered with the Department of Human Services pursuant to Article 7 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 or a child welfare agency as defined in Code Section 49-5-12 or an agent or employee acting on behalf of such entity or child welfare agency.

(b)(1) A person commits the offense of interference with custody when without lawful authority to do so, the person:

(A) Knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child or committed person away from the individual who has lawful custody of such child or committed person;

(B) Knowingly harbors any child or committed person who has absconded; provided, however, that this subparagraph shall not apply to a service provider that notifies the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child's location and general state of well being as soon as possible but not later than 72 hours after the child's acceptance of services; provided, further, that such notification shall not be required if:

(i) The service provider has reasonable cause to believe that the minor has been abused or neglected and makes a child abuse report pursuant to Code Section 19-7-5;

(ii) The child will not disclose the name of the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services is notified within 72 hours of the child's acceptance of services; or

(iii) The child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian cannot be reached, and the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services is notified within 72 hours of the child's acceptance of services; or

(C) Intentionally and willfully retains possession within this state of the child or committed person upon the expiration of a lawful period of visitation with the child or committed person.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of interference with custody shall be punished as follows:

(A) Upon conviction of the first offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $200.00 nor more than $500. 00 or shall be imprisoned for not less than one month nor more than five months, or both fined and imprisoned;

(B) Upon conviction of the second offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $400.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or shall be imprisoned for not less than three months nor more than 12 months, or both fined and imprisoned; and

(C) Upon the conviction of the third or subsequent offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

(c)(1) A person commits the offense of interstate interference with custody when without lawful authority to do so the person knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any minor or committed person away from the individual who has lawful custody of such minor or committed person and in so doing brings such minor or committed person into this state or removes such minor or committed person from this state.

(2) A person also commits the offense of interstate interference with custody when the person removes a minor or committed person from this state in the lawful exercise of a visitation right and, upon the expiration of the period of lawful visitation, intentionally retains possession of the minor or committed person in another state for the purpose of keeping the minor or committed person away from the individual having lawful custody of the minor or committed person. The offense is deemed to be committed in the county to which the minor or committed person was to have been returned upon expiration of the period of lawful visitation.

(3) A person convicted of the offense of interstate interference with custody shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than one year nor more than five years.