Custodial Interference Laws in Arizona - Law Offices of John Rock, PC
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Custodial Interference Laws in Arizona

13-1301.  Definitions
In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

  1. "Relative" means a parent or stepparent, ancestor, descendant, sibling, uncle or aunt, including an adoptive relative of the same degree through marriage or adoption, or a spouse.
  2. "Restrain" means to restrict a person's movements without consent, without legal authority, and in a manner which interferes substantially with such person's liberty, by either moving such person from one place to another or by confining such person.  Restraint is without consent if it is accomplished by:
    1. Physical force, intimidation or deception; or
    2. Any means including acquiescence of the victim if the victim is a child less than eighteen years old or an incompetent person and the victim's lawful custodian has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement.

13-1302.  Custodial interference; child born out of wedlock; defenses; classification

  1. A person commits custodial interference if, knowing or having reason to know that the person has no legal right to do so, the person does one of the following:
    1. Takes, entices or keeps from lawful custody any child, or any person who is incompetent, and who is entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution.
    2. Before the entry of a court order determining custodial rights, takes, entices or withholds any child from the other parent denying that parent access to any child.
    3. If the person is one of two persons who have joint legal custody of a child takes, entices or withholds from physical custody the child from the other custodian.
    4. At the expiration of access rights outside this state, intentionally fails or refuses to return or impedes the return of a child to the lawful custodian.
  2. If a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is the legal custodian of the child for the purposes of this section until paternity is established and custody or access is determined by a court.
  3. It is a defense to a prosecution pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 if both of the following apply:
    1. The defendant has begun the process to obtain an order of protection or files a petition for custody within a reasonable period of time and the order of protection or petition states the defendant's belief that the child was at risk if left with the other parent.
    2. The defendant is the child's parent and has the right of custody and the defendant either:
      1. Has a good faith and reasonable belief that the taking, enticing or withholding is necessary to protect the child from immediate danger.
      2. Is a victim of domestic violence by the other parent and has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.
  4. A violation of this section is:
    1. A class 3 felony if committed by a person other than the parent or agent of the parent or custodian or agent of the custodian.
    2. Notwithstanding paragraph 3 of this subsection, a class 4 felony if the child or incompetent person is taken, enticed or kept from lawful custody out of this state by the parent or agent of the parent or custodian or the agent of the custodian.
    3. A class 6 felony if committed by a parent or agent of the parent or custodian or agent of the custodian.
    4. A class 1 misdemeanor if the child or incompetent person is voluntarily returned without physical injury prior to arrest or the issuance of an arrest warrant.

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13-1305.  Access interference; classification; definition

  1. A person commits access interference  if, knowing or having reason to know that the person has no legal right to do so, the person knowingly engages in a pattern of behavior that prevents, obstructs or frustrates the access rights of a person who is entitled to access to a child pursuant to a court order.
  2. If the child is removed from this state, access interference is a class 5 felony.  Otherwise access interference is a class 2 misdemeanor.
  3. The enforcement of this section is not limited by the availability of other remedies for access interference.
  4. For the purposes of this section "access order" means a court order that is issued pursuant to title 25 and that allows a person to have direct access to a child or incompetent person.

Disclaimer: These are the statutes as they read on October 30, 2008 on the Arizona State Legislature's website. Each year the Arizona State Legislature changes some of the criminal laws. Generally (but not always), the criminal law (statute) that is in place on the date of offense is the law that applies to the case. To find the most current version of the statute go to the Arizona State Legislature's website (http://www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=13)

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Laws in Arizona Custodial Interference