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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Custodial Intereference Attorney in Utah

Disputes relating to custody, visitation, and parent-time are common between divorced couples. While most of these disputes are resolved informally or through the civil court system, there are circumstances under which interfering with parent-time or custody can become a criminal offense. If you are facing criminal charges for custodial interference in Utah, you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact us now to arrange for an initial consultation with Stephen Howard.

Elements of a Custodial Interference Charge in Utah

Under Utah's criminal code, a person is guilty of custodial interference if the person "takes, entices, conceals, or detains a child under the age of 16 from its parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian"  knowing that they have no legal right to do so and with the intent to "hold the child for a period substantially longer than the parent-time or custody period previously awarded" by the court or with the intent to deprive another person of that person's lawfully ordered parent-time, visitation, or custody rights.

Charge for custodial interference in Utah are typically filed against either the custodial or noncustodial parent. Related charges that can be filed against non-parents include unlawful detention of a minor and child kidnapping.

Consequences of Conviction for Custodial Interference in Utah

Under most circumstances, custodial interference is a misdemeanor charge in Utah. But if the child is removed and taken across state lines, the offense becomes a felony charge under state law. Any criminal offense, even a misdemeanor, carries the possibility of jail time and significant financial penalties. A variety of potential probation conditions can be imposed by a court if jail or prison time is suspended.

In addition to standard criminal penalties imposed by a sentencing court, a person may have his or her driver license suspended based on a conviction for custodial interference. (See Utah Code 76-5-303 and 53-3-220.) A driver license suspension is a surprising consequence for many people. Perhaps the legislature believes that the threat of a suspended driver license will deter interference with custodial parental rights. But given the fact that the driving privilege and parent time are such unrelated issues, and given the fact that so many individuals are completely unaware of this potential consequence, the effectiveness of this deterrent measure is questionable.

Finding a Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Criminal Defense Lawyer UtahAs a Utah criminal defense lawyer, Stephen Howard has successfully handled more serious felony and misdemeanor charges than many Utah attorneys will see in their entire careers. His record of real results speaks for itself. No matter what charge you are facing, he has the experience to help you get the results you need.  

We are pleased to offer defense services to clients in Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber Counties, and throughout all of Utah. Contact us today to see the difference the right attorney can make for your case.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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