Child abduction is listed under the family law section of the state code, and the specific crimes fall under the sub section titled removal of child from state. There are two main types of child abduction, and the penalties depend on the specific acts of the defendant. The least severe offense is section 9-304, which makes it a misdemeanor for a relative to take or abduct a child under the age of 16 away from the lawful custodian to a place within Maryland. It is also a crime to keep a child under 16 who was lawful acquired for more than 48 hours after the lawful custodian demands the child to be returned. Anyone who assists in harboring or hiding the child with knowledge or acts as an accessory in any other capacity could also be charged. Under Maryland law, misdemeanor child abduction carries a 30-day maximum jail sentence and a fine of up to $250.
Felony child abduction occurs when a defendant is accused of taking or keeping more than 48 hours after a demand to return a child under the age of 16 outside the state of Maryland. The specific penalty depends on the length of time and where the child was taken or harbored. If the amount of time is less than 30 days the defendant faces a felony with up to 1-year in jail upon conviction. Out-of-state child abduction that lasts for more than 30 days is considered a felony with a 3-year maximum penalty. Outside of the state includes Washington D.C. and neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia. Finally, child abduction outside the country is a felony with a 5-year maximum prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. There is no minimum time threshold for taking or keeping a child outside of the country, which means charges can be filed as soon as the child leaves the U.S. The State can also potentially charge a defendant with attempted child abduction if he or she is at the airport or the border with the child. Attempted child abduction would be a misdemeanor offense with the same maximum penalty as if the crime actually was completed.
If you have been charged with child abduction anywhere in Maryland from the Eastern Shore to Allegany County contact criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst immediately to discuss which defenses may be available in your case. Benjamin specializes in child abduction defense in Maryland, and will start fighting for you the minute he is hired. Benjamin’s main office is in Baltimore City, but he has extensive experience representing clients in every county in Maryland over the nearly 20 years he has been practicing. This includes the Worcester County courts in Ocean City and Snow Hill, Wicomico County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Frederick, Hagerstown and all the rest. Benjamin offers flexible payment arrangements and provides all clients with off hours access via his work cell phone.