Most residents of California will be very aware that kidnapping is a serious offense. In general, this is defined as transporting a person to another location against their will or holding them in a controlled space. This falls under state and federal law and as such can be charged as a federal offense. However, what happens when the person being moved or confined is the child of the alleged kidnapper?
These cases are usually complex and delicate as it is often the case that the parent is motivated by love. The child may even be happy to go with them. However, if this is in breach of a custody agreement, the parent risks being charged with kidnapping. This is considered an extremely serious matter as kidnapping can carry penalties of 20 years or more in prison. Not only could this be a devastating blow for the accused, but it also largely removes them from their child's life.
Laws and penalties vary somewhat in the case of parental kidnapping, however, as this article on abduction explains. For example, an international parental kidnapping can result in a sentence of three years if the accused is found guilty. Even so, this can dramatically affect their influence on their child's life and access to them as they grow.
If you are faced with federal charges of any kind, an attorney can be invaluable. He or she can explain the severity of the charges against you and may be able to assist you with forming your defense. As a result, you might be able to avoid conviction altogether or at least negotiate a reduction in the charges you face.