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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 AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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Jail time, prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the lifetime collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record - all of these and more are at stake when you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah. Understanding what is at risk is critical. Even so-called "minor" misdemeanor cases can have serious consequences....

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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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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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