After a divorce, agreements like child custody and alimony may still bring you face-to-face with your ex. If tension still exists as you are picking up and dropping off your child to stay with your ex, you may be tempted to keep your child away from them for longer than your parenting plan allows.
Even if you think this is the safest move for your child, be very careful. You have to follow the order. If not, you may end up with kidnapping charges.
How Is Keeping Your Own Child Kidnapping?
When you think of kidnapping, it’s normal to imagine a perpetrator who is a complete stranger to the victim. However, kidnapping stories are not all like Jacob Wetterling or the stories that we see on television. There are multiple ways that someone can be charged with kidnapping in Minnesota.
“Whoever, for any of the following purposes, confines or removes from one place to another, any person without the person’s consent or, if the person is under the age of 16 years, without the consent of the person’s parents or other legal custodian, is guilty of kidnapping and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 2:
(1) to hold for ransom or reward for release, or as shield or hostage; or
(2) to facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or
(3) to commit great bodily harm or to terrorize the victim or another; or
(4) to hold in involuntary servitude.”
The penalties for kidnapping begin at up to 20 years behind bars and up to $35,000 in fines. Different kinds of kidnapping may result in additional penalties.
Other examples of kidnapping include:
- Parental Kidnapping: If a custody dispute leads to one parent holding their child for extra parenting time or more alimony payments, that parent may be charged for parental kidnapping. It is important in this case to look through the four points in the definition of kidnapping. To be convicted, one of the four intentions to commit a felony must be present. Simply keeping your child for a few days past what is on your custody agreement is not enough to secure a kidnapping conviction.
- Kidnapping and Committing Bodily Harm: The act of kidnapping itself is a crime, but your actions during the time when a victim was being held matters too. If the victim is released or returned and has suffered serious bodily injuries, the charge is considered more serious under Minnesota law. (In both of these cases, the penalties are significantly higher. Offenders will face up to 40 years in prison and/or up to $50,000 in fines.)
- Kidnapping With Sexual Intent: The tragic death of Jacob Wetterling lead to the creation of Minnesota’s sex offender registry. In addition to the more commonly known sex crimes (sexual assault, possession of child pornography, etc.,) kidnapping is a crime that could land you on the sex offender registry. Worse, kidnapping will put you on the registry as a “predatory offender” or “sexually dangerous person.”
As you can see, the penalties for kidnapping are extremely serious, and can last longer than your time in a jail cell or paying off fines. If you have been arrested or charged with kidnapping, talk to a Minnesota defense lawyer immediately.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).