Kidnapping is the taking of a person, usually against their will. False imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. Kidnapping can be committed by strangers or by people known by the person who is kidnapped. Some kidnappings that garner the most attention are those where one parent kidnaps the child away from the other parent. The FBI estimates that over 200,000 minors are kidnpped each year by family members. Kidnapping has some similarities to false imprisonment, though it is considered a more serious offense. California Penal Code defines this offense as stealing, taking, holding, detaining someone by force or fear and taking that person to another location.
You don’t have to transport the alleged victim very far to be charged with kidnapping; merely moving them to another location within the county will suffice. And it doesn’t have to be a dramatic event with a ransom note.
In general, kidnapping is a felony offense punishable by 3,5, or 8 years. If the alleged victim is less than 14 years of age the potential sentence is 5, 8, or 11 years.
Although you could be granted probation for a kidnapping charge, the statutes require a 12 month sentence in the county jail as a condition of such probation or the judge must specify why such a mandatory jail sentence is inappropriate.
If the kidnapping involves a ransom or if it is done with the intent to rape or otherwise sexually assault the alleged victim, the sentence can be far lengthier.
These crimes are considered very serious. If they involve a child, they are treated with even more indignation by law enforcement and prosecutors. When looking at a prison sentence or a permanent criminal record, you need to be assured that you have put your confidence in a defense attorney that has your back.
California Penal Code § 784 – Kidnapping; false imprisonment
The jurisdiction of a criminal action:
(a) For forcibly and without lawful authority seizing and confining another, or inveigling or kidnapping another, with intent, against his or her will, to cause him or her to be secretly confined or imprisoned in this state, or to be sent out of the state, or from one county to another, or to be sold as a slave, or in any way held to service; (b) For inveigling, enticing, or taking away any person for the purpose of concubinage or prostitution, as defined in subdivision
(b) of Section 647; Is in any competent court within the jurisdictional territory in which the offense was committed, or in the jurisdictional territory out of which the person upon whom the offense was committed was taken or within the jurisdictional territory in which an act was done by the defendant in instigating, procuring, promoting, or aiding in the commission of the offense, or in abetting the parties concerned therein.
Believe it or not these are examples of two different types of scenarios that can lead to kidnapping charges:
- You have car trouble and are a couple hours late returning your children to their mother’s home after their parenting time with you. When you deliver them safely to her doorstep, you learn she has called the police. You are charged with child kidnapping.
- You take your children and move to another state to avoid spousal abuse and are charged with kidnapping.