Kidnapping is the forceful or use of fear and threats to move a person against that person’s will. The situation can become worse if the victim was a child under 14 and asked for ransom, or cause serious injuries to him or her. It can get worse depending on if you violate other laws. These combined is called aggravated kidnapping which will end with life in prison. Kidnapping does not have to be like what you see in the movies. An example of a little-known type of kidnapping can be simply taking out a your girlfriends kid for the beach, but you are actually hiding him from his mom after she started doing drugs.
Punishments for Kidnapping
Kidnapping is a straight felony. There is no misdemeanor. It will also add a strike to your record under California’s three strikes law. Simple kidnapping carries up to 8 years in prison. Aggravated kidnapping carries 5 years to life. It is a more serious version of false imprisonment. The idea is that you cannot kidnap someone without falsely imprisoning them. When charged with false imprisonment, it is then considered a wobbler. That means that it can swing as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This is a much better alternative than the former. Related offenses include Kidnapping during a carjacking. Kidnapping in connection with extortion. Child abduction. Deprivation of a child custody order.
Defenses for Kidnapping
Although it seems difficult to defend, it does have loopholes. If the victim consented to being moved there is no kidnapping. If the defendant truly believed and in good faith that the victim consented then there is no problem. There is no criminal intent behind the defendant’s action to call it a kidnapping. There was not enough movement to qualify a kidnapping. Such as moving someone to get to your car. Or perhaps you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are a parent with legal custody over a child, then you cannot be accused to kidnapping of that child. This does not work if you then proceeded to do an illegal activity with that child. Different defenses can depend on the situation such as if you took off with someone to keep them safe.
Having an attorney that’s willing to hear your case is a critical part in reducing your charges.