Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney

Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney

Were you recently arrested for kidnapping in Los Angeles, CA? You can face serious jail time for kidnapping even if you don’t cause a serious injury. A Los Angeles kidnapping attorney at The Rodriguez Law Group can help you fight to protect your future. 

We have more than two decades of experience helping clients fight serious criminal charges in Southern California. We’re well-prepared to vigorously defend your legal rights.

If you’re facing criminal charges, contact our law offices in Los Angeles, California, at (213) 995-6767 to schedule a free initial consultation today.

How The Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You Were Arrested for Kidnapping in Los Angeles

Any type of criminal charge can be overwhelming. When you’re facing allegations that you committed a serious violent crime, the situation can seem hopeless. Prosecutors take charges like kidnapping seriously–and will likely seek the maximum penalties possible.

Having an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer by your side will give you the best chance of minimizing the consequences. Our lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group have more than 21 years of experience protecting the rights of people accused of serious crimes. Our founding attorney even worked as a prosecutor for 13 years.

There are a lot of factors to consider when hiring a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. When you’re accused of a violent crime, you want experience like ours in your corner. We know what to expect from local police and prosecutors. We also know how to negotiate to have your charges reduced or even dropped before trial. 

When you hire our team, you can count on us to:

  • Provide sound legal advice throughout the entire criminal process
  • Help you evaluate any plea bargain that the prosecution offers
  • Locate any evidence that could help create reasonable doubt or prove your innocence
  • Hire experts who can help interpret the evidence in your case if necessary
  • Negotiate behind the scenes to have your charges reduced if possible 

Remember, your initial consultation is completely free of charge. If you’re ready to learn more about how our kidnapping defense attorneys can fight to protect your future, give us a call today.

Overview of Kidnapping Laws in California

Kidnapping in California is a felony under Penal Code Section 207. We all know what it means to kidnap someone else. Generally speaking, kidnapping is taking, moving, or detaining another person against their will.

In legal terms, the prosecution will have to prove several specific elements to convict on kidnapping charges in the state of California.

Under the kidnapping laws, a defendant can be found guilty of kidnapping when they:

  • Uses force or fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in California, and moves them into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county
  • Hires, persuades, entices, or otherwise lures 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 with the intent to commit lewd acts with a minor 
  • While in another state, uses force, fraud, or takes any actions that are illegal in that state in order to move another person into California

Human trafficking crimes are also addressed in the California kidnapping law. Kidnapping charges can apply if the defendant used fraud, fear, or coercion to move a person with the intent of selling that person into slavery or involuntary servitude.

That law itself is relatively complex. To break it down, Los Angeles prosecutors will have to prove the following elements to convict on kidnapping charges:

  • You used force or reasonable fear to take, move or detain another person in some way
  • You moved the alleged victim a substantial distance
  • The alleged victim did not consent or was incapable of consent

As in any criminal case, prosecutors must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Use of Fear or Force

Prosecutors generally must prove that you actually used physical force or the threat of imminent physical force in order to move the victim. 

Examples that could constitute sufficient fear or force include:

  • Physically dragging the victim to another location
  • Holding the victim at gunpoint and forcing movement
  • Physically restraining the victim in order to move them
  • Threatening to physically or sexually assault the victim if they don’t move

Different rules apply in cases involving children or infants. California law only requires the prosecutor to prove that the defendant used enough physical force to take and carry the child away with the intent of committing an illegal act or with an illegal purpose.

“Movement” Element of a Kidnapping Charge

The prosecution must prove that the defendant moved the victim a “substantial distance” in order to convict on kidnapping charges. 

In evaluating whether a distance was “substantial,” judges and juries usually consider whether:

  • The physical distance moved was significant
  • The movement decreased the likelihood that the defendant would be caught
  • The movement increased the risk that the victim would be hurt 

Note that it isn’t necessary that the actual physical distance be substantial for kidnapping charges to apply.

Lack of Consent

You can be charged with kidnapping if the victim did not freely and voluntarily agree to the movement. Lack of consent can be found when the victim only complied with the aggressor’s demands because of a threat of physical violence. 

Kidnapping charges can also apply if the victim initially gave consent and later revoked that consent.

Overview of Aggravated Kidnapping Laws in California

Kidnapping is always a serious felony in California. Penalties for simple kidnapping can become even more severe when aggravating factors are present. 

Aggravating kidnapping charges may apply if:

  • The victim is a child
  • The defendant demands a ransom or reward for returning the person
  • The kidnapping occurred in connection with another crime, such as robbery, rape, sodomy, or spousal rape 

Aggravated charges can also apply if the kidnapping occurs while the defendant was committing a carjacking.

What are the Penalties for Kidnapping in Los Angeles, California? 

Simple kidnapping is generally punishable by three, five, or eight years in California state prison. Under California Penal Code Section 209, defendants can face life in prison for aggravated kidnapping. Defendants will face a lifetime prison sentence without possibility of parole if the victim suffers bodily harm or is killed. 

Prosecutors can also seek a sentence of life without parole if the victim is intentionally detained in a way that exposes the victim to a substantial risk of death. In cases involving aggravated kidnapping where no one is hurt or killed, the defendant can still be sentenced to life in prison (with the possibility of parole).

Also note that a kidnapping offense is considered a “strike” for purposes of the California three strikes law–and a kidnapping conviction can have significant collateral consequences.

Aggravated Penalties if the Victim Was a Minor Child

If the victim was a minor child under the age of 14, you could face enhanced sentencing requirements for child abduction. If the defendant was not the child’s biological or adoptive parent, the sentence is increased to five, eight or 11 years in state prison.

What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Kidnapping? 

Facing kidnapping charges is frightening regardless of the situation. It’s important to remember that an arrest is not a conviction. Prosecutors often file kidnapping charges based on incorrect information, such as in cases involving complex family situations, such as a heated custody battle or divorce. 

Even if you’re innocent, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights.

It could be possible to get your kidnapping charges downgraded or even dismissed with a strong legal defense. At The Rodriguez Law Group, our Los Angeles kidnapping lawyers can build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. 

While every kidnapping case is different, some common defenses to kidnapping might include:

  • The victim consented–or voluntarily agreed to go with the defendant
  • In good faith, you reasonably believed that the other person consented to being moved
  • The amount of movement involved was not sufficient to support kidnapping charges
  • Mistaken identity, alibi, or other defenses to support actual innocence
  • False allegations
  • The prosecution lacks evidence to support the charges

The law itself contains an affirmative defense to kidnapping. Kidnapping charges will not apply if you took a child under the age of 14 to protect the child from the risk of imminent harm.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney

Are you facing kidnapping charges in Los Angeles? We know it can be easy to lose hope with such severe penalties on the table. Call a Los Angeles kidnapping attorney at The Rodriguez Law Group for help protecting your freedom today. Don’t wait another minute: contact our law offices today to get the legal defense you deserve.

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