West Chester, PA 19380
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Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.
These locations are available by appointment only
Contrary to the popular belief that kidnapping is often committed by complete strangers, the truth is that the United States Department of Justice reports that as many as 200,000 children are victims of family abduction each year. Family abduction is a crime that can have profound traumatic effects not only on the child victims, but also many other family members.
In many cases, a child is taken out of state or even out of country by a noncustodial parent (the parent without legal custody of the child). Numerous state and federal agencies can assist in locating children who are often kidnapped as the result of some kind of custody dispute.
If your child has been removed from southeastern Pennsylvania by the other parent or you have been accused of parental kidnapping, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients enforcing orders in communities all over Chester County, Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, and the greater Philadelphia area.
Our West Chester divorce lawyers will take all of the necessary steps to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your child. Call (877) 529-2422 right now to have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
The type of penalty that will be handed down for a kidnapping offense will depend on the type of offense that the individual committed.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 2904 also establishes that a person commits the offense of interference with custody of children if he or she knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from the custody of its parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, when he has no privilege to do so. Interference with custody of children is generally a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, but the crime can become a second-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 if the alleged offender, not being a parent or person in equivalent relation to the child, acted with knowledge that his or her conduct would cause serious alarm for the safety of the child, or in reckless disregard of a likelihood of causing such alarm.
Interference with custody of children is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000 if the alleged offender acted with good cause for a period of time not in excess of 24 hours and:
Governor Tom Corbett signed the Uniform Child Abduction and Prevention Act (UCAPA) into law on January 22, 2014. The UCAPA provides guidelines for courts to follow during custody disputes when attempting to identify families that are at risk for child abduction.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 5204, a court on its own motion can order abduction prevention measures in a child custody proceeding if the court finds that the evidence establishes a credible risk of abduction of the child.
The same statute also allows a party to a child custody determination or another individual or entity having a right under the laws of this Commonwealth or any other state to seek a child custody determination for the child to file a petition seeking abduction prevention measures to protect the child, and prosecutors or public authorities designated under Section 5455 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes can seek a warrant to take physical custody of a child under Section 5209 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes or other appropriate prevention measures.
Petitions must be filed only in courts that have jurisdiction to make child custody determinations with respect to the child at issue under Chapter 54 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. A court of the Commonwealth has temporary emergency jurisdiction under if it finds a credible risk of abduction.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 5206 specifies that a petition under must be verified and include a copy of any existing child custody determination, if available. The petition must specify the risk factors for abduction, including the relevant factors described under Section 5207 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
In determining whether there is a credible risk of abduction of a child, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 5207 states that a court will consider any evidence that the petitioner or respondent:
Chapter 29 Kidnapping | Title 18 | PA General Assembly — View the full text of all state laws relating to kidnapping offenses. You can learn more about unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, and interference with custody of children. This chapter also covers missing children, concealment of whereabouts of a child, and luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure.
Child Abduction Prevention | Uniform Law Commission (ULC) — The ULC is a non-profit unincorporated association, comprised of state commissions on uniform laws from each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visit this section of the ULC website to learn more about the UCAPA, including a legislative fact sheet, an act summary, and why states should adopt UCAPA. You can also view a national map of UCAPA enactment statuses.
Was you child kidnapped by a noncustodial parent or were you arrested for alleged parental kidnapping in southeastern Pennsylvania? You will want immediately contact Ciccarelli Law Offices.
Our family law attorneys in West Chester have office locations in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Springfield, and Malvern.
You can have our lawyers review your case and discuss all of your legal options as soon as you call (877) 529-2422 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.