California Kidnapping Law
In a recent article, the Los Angeles Times reports that a man, Michael Ikeler, has been charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a two-year-old girl. His charges arise from an incident when a Gardena woman heard her daughter yell “Mom!” as she was washing her car, yet by the time she turned around her daughter was gone and taken by a stranger.
Approximately two hours later her daughter reappeared naked and in shock in a parking lot miles away. According to police, she was sexually assaulted. Using surveillance footage, the police quickly determined the suspect drove a white Nissan Altima. Days later, authorities received a tip that led to Ikeler who pleaded not guilty on April 13 to two counts of oral copulation of a minor and one count of committing lewd acts on a child during a kidnapping.
The California Penal Code 207 defines the act of kidnapping as any person who forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains or arrests any person in the state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county or into another part of the same county. The Penal Code also defines kidnapping as anyone who for the purposes of committing lewd acts on a child hires, persuades entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like, any child under the age of 14 years to go out of this country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county.
For purposes of the types of kidnapping requiring force, the amount of force required to kidnap an unresisting infant or child is the amount of physical force required to take and carry the child away a substantial distance for an illegal purpose or with an illegal intent.
Kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years as a felony offense. If the victim kidnapped is under the age of 14 at the time of the commission of the kidnapping, the imprisonment increases to five, eight, or 11 years in the state prison. Any person who kidnaps or carries away any individual to commit robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation, sodomy, or lewd acts on a child, faces imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.
Kidnapping may be charged as an aggravated offense if the victim is moved and force, fear or fraud is used upon a victim who is a child under 14 years of age, the kidnapping is accompanied with a demand for ransom, the victim suffers serious bodily harm or death during commission of the kidnapping, or kidnapping occurs while committing other criminal offenses.
The above examples elevate a kidnapping charge to an aggravated kidnapping. A conviction for aggravated kidnapping can carry a life prison sentence.
Both simple and aggravated kidnapping count as serious and violent felonies qualifying as strikes under California’s three-strikes law. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you face a kidnapping charge, as the penalties for a kidnapping conviction are severe. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group to defend your case. Attorney Rodriguez has over 13 years of experience as a former prosecutor. He has the training, expertise, and knowledge to fight and defend your case.