A five year old girl has been missing since July 20th.
According to reports, her mother, Dimesha Davis, was going to return the little girl to her grandmother after a weekend visitation. That never happened. Now DeKalb County authorities have obtained a warrant for Davis for interference with custody.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, this is the absolute closest to family law that I get. Family law is known as one of the most contentious areas of the law. Most of the time, family law issues do not fall into the criminal law category. However, as you can see in today's case, the interference with custody is considered a criminal offense in the state of Georgia.
Interference with Custody in Georgia
Interference with Custody in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-6-45 as:
A person commits the offense of interference with custody when without lawful authority to do so, the person:
- Knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child or committed person away from the individual who has lawful custody of such child or committed person;
- Knowingly harbors any child or committed person who has absconded; provided, however, that this subparagraph shall not apply to a service provider that notifies the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child's location and general state of well-being as soon as possible but not later than 72 hours after the child's acceptance of services; provided, further, that such notification shall not be required if:
- The service provider has reasonable cause to believe that the minor has been abused or neglected and makes a child abuse report
- The child will not disclose the name of the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian; or
- The child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian cannot be reached, and the Division of Family and Children Services within the Department of Human Services is notified within 72 hours of the child's acceptance of services
If convicted of interference with custody, the penalty for a first offense will be a fine between $200.00 and $500.00 or imprisonment for one month to five months, or both a fine and prison. A second conviction for interference with custody escalates the penalty to a fine between $400.00 and $1,000.00, a prison term between three months and 12 months, or both. A first and second conviction shall be treated as a misdemeanor. A third or subsequent conviction will carry the consequences of a felony charge and will be punished by a prison term between one and five years.
Just as with any other crime, there are Georgia Criminal Defenses that can apply to an interference with custody case. There are situations where a person is wrongly accused or arrested for this offense.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney now.