Kidnapping is a serious crime, and could cost you years in prison if convicted. Kidnapping includes a wide range of fact patterns, from a biological parent taking a child away from his or her adoptive parents to abducting a young child to holding someone for ransom.
If you have been arrested on a kidnapping charge, you need to immediately retain a criminal defense attorney with experience representing kidnapping defendants. Depending on the circumstances of your case, kidnapping could be considered a federal offense that is tried in federal court. Sadly, many kidnapping cases involve parents who face charges for kidnapping their own children.
The charge of kidnapping is defined as the abduction of one person by another person, and attempting to prevent their rescue by keeping them somewhere hidden or by threatening violence.
In most cases, a kidnapping charge is considered a third-degree felony, as long as it does not evolve to aggravated kidnapping. But there are exceptions that you and your lawyer can use in your defense. If you are related to the victim and did not use violence, threats or jeopardize their safety, your attorney may be able to get the charges reduced.
Aggravated kidnapping involves the abduction of someone with an intention that is dangerous or harmful to the kidnapped individual or group of people. The charge for aggravated kidnapping is often a first-degree felony, a very serious charge.
Some situations that would constitute aggravated kidnapping would be if the kidnapper:
- Uses a deadly weapon during the kidnapping
- Holds the victim or victims hostage
- Uses (or tries to use) the victim as leverage into committing another crime or in an effort to escape the situation
- Afflicts bodily harm or sexual abuse to the victim
- Uses the victim(s) as a human shield
- Terrorizes the victim or another person
- Tries to interfere with government or political function
If a child is kidnapped and taken out of state or out of the country, it becomes a federal offense and the seriousness of the crime escalates and so do the penalties. If the defendant kidnaps for ransom, or if victim who was kidnapped is hurt or killed, the likely penalties also increase substantially.
If you are in need of a kidnapping defense attorney, please click here to find a qualified lawyer in your area.