Florida law includes a number of protections for minor children. That includes a broadly worded statute that makes it a crime to interfere with the custody of a minor. As Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal recently explained, that statute may apply to a wide range of behavior.
A defendant was charged with interfering with the custody of a minor, stemming from an incident involving a 14-year-old boy. The boy was riding his bike in his neighborhood when he noticed that the defendant was following him in a car, according to the court. He drove up next to the boy and asked to use his phone, which the boy was holding in his hand.
The defendant continued to follow the boy in the car, including when he turned on to a different street. He pulled closely next to the boy, forcing him to the edge of the street. When the boy stopped and got off his bike, he again asked to use his phone. He said he needed to call a friend and offered to allow the boy to hold some cash while he used the phone. “You can get in and hold the money,” he allegedly told the boy. The defendant eventually drove off when the boy declined. He was later convicted and sentenced to five years of probation.