Kidnapping is a particularly serious offense as it involves the taking of another person against his or her will. Though frequently associated with children, kidnapping crimes span all ages, genders, races, and social statuses.
Just recently, an individual on parole kidnapped two 18-year old women and demanded the women perform sexual acts upon him; fortunately, the offender was apprehended and the women faced minor physical injuries. Other times, kidnapping ends in sexual assault, rape, physical harm, or even murder. If you have been suspected or charged with kidnapping or associated crimes, it is important to understand your legal rights in order to minimize the potential damage a conviction may have on your future.
What Constitutes Kidnapping?
Under California Penal Code Section 207(a), “[e]very person who forcibly, or by other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.” This broad definition encompasses many potential acts, any of which may lead to kidnapping charges. Kidnapping charges will vary in their severity depending on:
- The age of the victim kidnapped
- The relationship, if any, between the kidnapper and the victim
- Whether force was used to kidnap the victim
- Whether threats were used to kidnap the victim
- Whether threats were used to keep the victim, such as demanding ransom
- Whether fraud or misrepresentation was used to lure the victim
Kidnapping charges involving children are occasionally results of bitter child custody battles, where one parent may take the child without the other parent’s knowledge or consent. This action may constitute kidnapping even if it is your own child. If you are under court order to stay away from your child or if you are not the custodial parent, taking any child without express permission can lead to kidnapping charges.
As for adult kidnapping, luring an adult to come with you under false pretenses may constitute kidnapping, and transporting a victim even a small distance may lead to charges, as well. Any time a person is physically moved without his or her consent, you may be charged with kidnapping.
Defenses to Kidnapping
There are many valid legal defenses to kidnapping charges. These may include:
- Consent of the victim
- Insufficient distance to constitute movement under the law
- You were falsely accused by mistaken identity
- You are a custodial parent of a child
While other defenses may be available, these are among the most common and often recognized. Kidnapping, whether the victim is a child, an adult, or a family member, is a serious crime that can lead to a lifetime prison sentence if convicted of aggravated kidnapping (using force to accomplish the kidnapping). As such, it is important to understand the charges you are facing and what your legal options are as a criminal defendant.
Call The Rodriguez Law Group Today
Attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez is an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney that is skilled on both sides of the courtroom. As a previous prosecutor, Attorney Rodriguez has personal experience understanding prosecutor’s objectives, negotiating plea deals, and working to lessen the charges against the accused when possible.
He also worked in the Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit and has specific knowledge of cases involving children and additional crimes that often accompany kidnapping charges. To learn more about your options if you have been charged with a kidnapping crime, contact his Los Angeles office at (213) 995-6767 today.