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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 10: Child Abduction

In this section of the Illinois Criminal Code, legislators address child abduction, a broad category under which many charges reside. If a defendant has committed any of several acts, which are summarized below, he or she can be charged under this section of Illinois law.

- If someone violates a court order regarding custody by concealing or detaining the child.

- If a father takes back his child when paternity has not yet been established or custody has not yet been granted.

- If a mother takes back her child whom she has abandoned or of whom she has relinquished custody.

- If a married parent conceals his or her child from a spouse for more than 15 days and does not notify the other parent.

- If a married parent conceals his or her child from a spouse using physical force or threat of force.

- If someone removes a child for payment or promise of payment from a third party.

- If someone intentionally lures or attempts to lure a child into his car, house, or other building without the consent of the childs parent or guardian.

- If someone attempts to destroy or conceal evidence in order to obstruct efforts to locate a victim of child abduction.

Although the possible charges for child abduction seem numerous, there are many defenses that can be brought. If a custody order was violated due to circumstances beyond a defendants control or, if the defendant was fleeing a pattern of domestic violence a conviction can be avoided. Defendants should contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer if they intend to dispute the charges brought against them.

If convicted of child abduction under this section, a defendant is guilty of a Class 4 felony. The conviction may be upgraded to a higher-class felony if the defendant has previous sex offense convictions.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for child abduction in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 10 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 10

(Text of Section from P.A. 95-1052) Sec. 10-5. Child Abduction.
    (720 ILCS 5/10-5)

(a) For purposes of this Section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) "Child" means a person under the age of 18 or a severely or profoundly mentally retarded person at the time the alleged violation occurred; and

(2) "Detains" means taking or retaining physical custody of a child, whether or not the child resists or objects; and

(3) "Lawful custodian" means a person or persons granted legal custody of a child or entitled to physical possession of a child pursuant to a court order. It is presumed that, when the parties have never been married to each other, the mother has legal custody of the child unless a valid court order states otherwise. If an adjudication of paternity has been completed and the father has been assigned support obligations or visitation rights, such a paternity order should, for the purposes of this Section be considered a valid court order granting custody to the mother.

(b) A person commits child abduction when he or she:

(1) Intentionally violates any terms of a valid court order granting sole or joint custody, care or possession to another, by concealing or detaining the child or removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court; or

(2) Intentionally violates a court order prohibiting the person from concealing or detaining the child or removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court; or

(3) Intentionally conceals, detains or removes the child without the consent of the mother or lawful custodian of the child if the person is a putative father and either: (A) the paternity of the child has not been legally established or (B) the paternity of the child has been legally established but no orders relating to custody have been entered. However, notwithstanding the presumption created by paragraph (3) of subsection (a), a mother commits child abduction when she intentionally conceals or removes a child, whom she has abandoned or relinquished custody of, from an unadjudicated father who has provided sole ongoing care and custody of the child in her absence; or

(4) Intentionally conceals or removes the child from a parent after filing a petition or being served with process in an action affecting marriage or paternity but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody; or

(5) At the expiration of visitation rights outside the State, intentionally fails or refuses to return or impedes the return of the child to the lawful custodian in Illinois; or

(6) Being a parent of the child, and where the parents of such child are or have been married and there has been no court order of custody, conceals the child for 15 days, and fails to make reasonable attempts within the 15 day period to notify the other parent as to the specific whereabouts of the child, including a means by which to contact such child, or to arrange reasonable visitation or contact with the child. It is not a violation of this Section for a person fleeing domestic violence to take the child with him or her to housing provided by a domestic violence program; or

(7) Being a parent of the child, and where the parents of the child are or have been married and there has been no court order of custody, conceals, detains, or removes the child with physical force or threat of physical force; or

(8) Conceals, detains, or removes the child for payment or promise of payment at the instruction of a person who has no legal right to custody; or

(9) Retains in this State for 30 days a child removed from another state without the consent of the lawful custodian or in violation of a valid court order of custody; or

(10) Intentionally lures or attempts to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place without the consent of the parent or lawful custodian of the child for other than a lawful purpose.

For the purposes of this subsection (b), paragraph (10), the luring or attempted luring of a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place without the consent of the parent or lawful custodian of the child shall be prima facie evidence of other than a lawful purpose.

(c) It shall be an affirmative defense that:

(1) The person had custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights which existed at the time of the alleged violation; or

(2) The person had physical custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights and failed to return the child as a result of circumstances beyond his or her control, and the person notified and disclosed to the other parent or legal custodian the specific whereabouts of the child and a means by which such child can be contacted or made a reasonable attempt to notify the other parent or lawful custodian of the child of such circumstances and make such disclosure within 24 hours after the visitation period had expired and returned the child as soon as possible; or

(3) The person was fleeing an incidence or pattern of domestic violence; or

(4) The person lured or attempted to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place for a lawful purpose in prosecutions under subsection (b), paragraph (10).

(d) A person convicted of child abduction under this Section is guilty of a Class 4 felony. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (10) of subsection (b) of this Section is guilty of a Class 3 felony. It shall be a factor in aggravation for which a court may impose a more severe sentence under Section 5-8-1 (730 ILCS 5/5-8-1) or Article 4.5 of Chapter V of the Unified Code of Corrections, if upon sentencing the court finds evidence of any of the following aggravating factors:

(1) that the defendant abused or neglected the child following the concealment, detention or removal of the child; or

(2) that the defendant inflicted or threatened to inflict physical harm on a parent or lawful custodian of the child or on the child with intent to cause such parent or lawful custodian to discontinue criminal prosecution of the defendant under this Section; or

(3) that the defendant demanded payment in exchange for return of the child or demanded that he or she be relieved of the financial or legal obligation to support the child in exchange for return of the child; or

(4) that the defendant has previously been convicted of child abduction; or

(5) that the defendant committed the abduction while armed with a deadly weapon or the taking of the child resulted in serious bodily injury to another; or

(6) that the defendant committed the abduction while in a school, regardless of the time of day or time of year; in a playground; on any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity; on the real property of a school; or on a public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school or playground. For purposes of this paragraph (6), "playground" means a piece of land owned or controlled by a unit of local government that is designated by the unit of local government for use solely or primarily for children's recreation; and "school" means a public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college, or university.

(e) The court may order the child to be returned to the parent or lawful custodian from whom the child was concealed, detained or removed. In addition to any sentence imposed, the court may assess any reasonable expense incurred in searching for or returning the child against any person convicted of violating this Section.

(f) Nothing contained in this Section shall be construed to limit the court's contempt power.

(g) Every law enforcement officer investigating an alleged incident of child abduction shall make a written police report of any bona fide allegation and the disposition of such investigation. Every police report completed pursuant to this Section shall be compiled and recorded within the meaning of Section 5.1 of "An Act in relation to criminal identification and investigation", approved July 2, 1931, as now or hereafter amended.

(h) Whenever a law enforcement officer has reasons to believe a child abduction has occurred, he shall provide the lawful custodian a summary of her or his rights under this Act, including the procedures and relief available to her or him.

(i) If during the course of an investigation under this Section the child is found in the physical custody of the defendant or another, the law enforcement officer shall return the child to the parent or lawful custodian from whom the child was concealed, detained or removed, unless there is good cause for the law enforcement officer or the Department of Children and Family Services to retain temporary protective custody of the child pursuant to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, as now or hereafter amended. (Source: P.A. 95-1052, eff. 7-1-09.)

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-710)

Sec. 10-5. Child abduction.

(a) For purposes of this Section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) "Child" means a person who, at the time the alleged violation occurred, was under the age of 18 or severely or profoundly mentally retarded.

(2) "Detains" means taking or retaining physical custody of a child, whether or not the child resists or objects.

(3) "Lawful custodian" means a person or persons granted legal custody of a child or entitled to physical possession of a child pursuant to a court order. It is presumed that, when the parties have never been married to each other, the mother has legal custody of the child unless a valid court order states otherwise. If an adjudication of paternity has been completed and the father has been assigned support obligations or visitation rights, such a paternity order should, for the purposes of this Section, be considered a valid court order granting custody to the mother.

(4) "Putative father" means a man who has a reasonable belief that he is the father of a child born of a woman who is not his wife.

(b) A person commits the offense of child abduction when he or she does any one of the following:

(1) Intentionally violates any terms of a valid court order granting sole or joint custody, care, or possession to another by concealing or detaining the child or removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court.

(2) Intentionally violates a court order prohibiting the person from concealing or detaining the child or removing the child from the jurisdiction of the court.

(3) Intentionally conceals, detains, or removes the child without the consent of the mother or lawful custodian of the child if the person is a putative father and either: (A) the paternity of the child has not been legally established or (B) the paternity of the child has been legally established but no orders relating to custody have been entered. Notwithstanding the presumption created by paragraph (3) of subsection (a), however, a mother commits child abduction when she intentionally conceals or removes a child, whom she has abandoned or relinquished custody of, from an unadjudicated father who has provided sole ongoing care and custody of the child in her absence.

(4) Intentionally conceals or removes the child from a parent after filing a petition or being served with process in an action affecting marriage or paternity but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody.

(5) At the expiration of visitation rights outside the State, intentionally fails or refuses to return or impedes the return of the child to the lawful custodian in Illinois.

(6) Being a parent of the child, and if the parents of that child are or have been married and there has been no court order of custody, knowingly conceals the child for 15 days, and fails to make reasonable attempts within the 15-day period to notify the other parent as to the specific whereabouts of the child, including a means by which to contact the child, or to arrange reasonable visitation or contact with the child. It is not a violation of this Section for a person fleeing domestic violence to take the child with him or her to housing provided by a domestic violence program.

(7) Being a parent of the child, and if the parents of the child are or have been married and there has been no court order of custody, knowingly conceals, detains, or removes the child with physical force or threat of physical force.

(8) Knowingly conceals, detains, or removes the child for payment or promise of payment at the instruction of a person who has no legal right to custody.

(9) Knowingly retains in this State for 30 days a child removed from another state without the consent of the lawful custodian or in violation of a valid court order of custody.

(10) Intentionally lures or attempts to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place without the consent of the child's parent or lawful custodian for other than a lawful purpose. For the purposes of this item (10), the luring or attempted luring of a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place without the consent of the child's parent or lawful custodian is prima facie evidence of other than a lawful purpose.

(11) With the intent to obstruct or prevent efforts to locate the child victim of a child abduction, knowingly destroys, alters, conceals, or disguises physical evidence or furnishes false information.

(c) It is an affirmative defense to subsections (b)(1) through (b)(10) of this Section that:

(1) the person had custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights that existed at the time of the alleged violation;

(2) the person had physical custody of the child pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation rights and failed to return the child as a result of circumstances beyond his or her control, and the person notified and disclosed to the other parent or legal custodian the specific whereabouts of the child and a means by which the child could be contacted or made a reasonable attempt to notify the other parent or lawful custodian of the child of those circumstances and made the disclosure within 24 hours after the visitation period had expired and returned the child as soon as possible;

(3) the person was fleeing an incidence or pattern of domestic violence; or

(4) the person lured or attempted to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building, housetrailer, or dwelling place for a lawful purpose in prosecutions under paragraph (10) of subsection (b).

(d) A person convicted of child abduction under this Section is guilty of a Class 4 felony. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (10) of subsection (b) of this Section is guilty of a Class 3 felony. It is a factor in aggravation under subsections (b)(1) through (b)(10) of this Section for which a court may impose a more severe sentence under Section 5-8-1 of the Unified Code of Corrections if, upon sentencing, the court finds evidence of any of the following aggravating factors:

(1) that the defendant abused or neglected the child following the concealment, detention, or removal of the child;

(2) that the defendant inflicted or threatened to inflict physical harm on a parent or lawful custodian of the child or on the child with intent to cause that parent or lawful custodian to discontinue criminal prosecution of the defendant under this Section;

(3) that the defendant demanded payment in exchange for return of the child or demanded that he or she be relieved of the financial or legal obligation to support the child in exchange for return of the child;

(4) that the defendant has previously been convicted of child abduction;

(5) that the defendant committed the abduction while armed with a deadly weapon or the taking of the child resulted in serious bodily injury to another; or

(6) that the defendant committed the abduction while in a school, regardless of the time of day or time of year; in a playground; on any conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a school to transport students to or from school or a school related activity; on the real property of a school; or on a public way within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising any school or playground. For purposes of this paragraph (6), "playground" means a piece of land owned or controlled by a unit of local government that is designated by the unit of local government for use solely or primarily for children's recreation; and "school" means a public or private elementary or secondary school, community college, college, or university.

(e) The court may order the child to be returned to the parent or lawful custodian from whom the child was concealed, detained, or removed. In addition to any sentence imposed, the court may assess any reasonable expense incurred in searching for or returning the child against any person convicted of violating this Section.

(f) Nothing contained in this Section shall be construed to limit the court's contempt power.

(g) Every law enforcement officer investigating an alleged incident of child abduction shall make a written police report of any bona fide allegation and the disposition of that investigation. Every police report completed pursuant to this Section shall be compiled and recorded within the meaning of Section 5.1 of the Criminal Identification Act.

(h) Whenever a law enforcement officer has reasons to believe a child abduction has occurred, she or he shall provide the lawful custodian a summary of her or his rights under this Code, including the procedures and relief available to her or him.

(i) If during the course of an investigation under this Section the child is found in the physical custody of the defendant or another, the law enforcement officer shall return the child to the parent or lawful custodian from whom the child was concealed, detained, or removed, unless there is good cause for the law enforcement officer or the Department of Children and Family Services to retain temporary protective custody of the child pursuant to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. (Source: P.A. 96-710, eff. 1-1-10.)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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