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    Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Lawyers

    We Represent the Rights of People Accused of Kidnapping through California

    If you’ve been accused of kidnapping, it is critical that you retain experienced legal counsel right away. If you are convicted, you could be facing serious legal consequences, including a lengthy prison sentence. Retaining a kidnapping defense attorney in LA will ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is resolved as favorably as possible.

    From instances of human trafficking to separated spouses removing children from the other’s custody, kidnapping can include a broad variety of crimes. Most people are familiar with the basic concept of this term, but not every “kidnapping” case is black and white. There are certain circumstances and details need to be taken into account, and despite appearances, it may not be kidnapping after all. Unfortunately, people are sometimes wrongly charged with kidnapping, and therefore face very serious consequences unless they get legal help.

    If you or a loved one is facing kidnapping charges, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer in LA as soon as possible. The Law Offices of David S. Chesley offers our clients aggressive, high-quality representation – call us at 800-755-5174 or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.

    California Kidnapping Statutes

    California has a few statutes that encompass the general and particular crimes of kidnapping in Penal Code 207-2010. It’s important to understand the law, so let’s review some of the important details found in these sections of the statute.

    Section 207 lays out the basic elements of kidnapping. It states, “Every person who forcibly, or by any 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.” To summarize, then, kidnapping occurs whenever someone moves another person a considerable distance through force or fear

    In addition to “basic” kidnapping, Section 207(b) defines kidnapping to include whenever someone fraudulently induces or persuades a child under the age of 14 to go with them to some other place. Kidnapping also includes abducting people into human trafficking (Section 207c) and people who are held hostage during a carjacking (Section 209.5).

    What the Prosecution Has to Prove in Order to Secure a Conviction

    In order to be convicted of the basic crime of kidnapping, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant moved the victim some considerable distance through force, fear, or fraud.

    First, let’s focus on the considerable distance element – California law requires that the person is moved into “another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county.” Therefore, in California, moving someone across state lines is obviously kidnapping. Moving someone to “another part of the same county” is somewhat vague, however. There is no set distance that separates kidnapping from a lesser crime (such as false imprisonment), but it has been interpreted by the courts over the years, and it may ultimately be a question for the jury to decide.

    Next, the prosecution has to prove that the victim was moved without his or her consent and by force or fear of harm or through false promises or other fraudulent inducements. The element of force, fear, or fraud may be clear in some cases but may be very subjective in other cases. For example, holding a knife to someone’s throat in order to force them into a van, would likely meet the fear element. But what if the threat is less clear? Maybe the defendant said, “you need to come with me or else.” Would that threat be sufficient to prove that the defendant is guilty of kidnapping? Again, that may be an issue for a jury to decide.

    The Penal Code does provide some clarity on a couple of points, however:

    1. If the victim is under the age of 18, the amount of force necessary to qualify as kidnapping is the amount of force sufficient to physically take and carry the child (Section 207(e));
    2. If the kidnapping occurs in the context of a carjacking, the movement must be more than “merely incidental” to where the carjacking occurred. (Section 209.5(a))

    An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can explain how the law applies to your case, assess the strength or weakness of the prosecution’s case against you, and help you understand your options for defending yourself.

    Potential Penalties

    Kidnapping is a serious crime, and the penalties can be severe. “Basic” kidnapping is a felony and punishable by imprisonment in state prison for three, five, or eight years.  Importantly, there are certain factors that can enhance a charge of kidnapping to aggravated kidnapping, which is much a more serious offense. The penalties for aggravating kidnapping are as follows:

    • If the victim is under the age of 14, the potential jail time is 5, 8, or 11 years;
    • In cases where there was a ransom demand, there is the possibility of life in prison without parole if the victim died, suffered bodily harm, or was exposed to a substantial likelihood of death
    • If the kidnapping involved a sexual assault, there is the possibility of life in prison;
    • There could be the possibility of life in prison if the kidnapping involved a carjacking.

    If you’ve been charged with kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping, it is important to be aware of the fact that a conviction counts a “strike” under California’s three strikes law, which can expose you to significantly enhanced legal consequences.

    Possible Defenses

    Being charged with a felony can be overwhelming and frightening. It may seem hopeless, but you may be able to assert one of the following defenses in order to avoid conviction:

    • The victim was under the age of 14, but you took her in order to protect her from harm;
    • The victim is your child, and you have custody pursuant to a court order;
    • The victim gave his or her consent;
    • There was insufficient movement;
    • It was a false accusation.

    Many kidnapping claims arise in the context of family disputes where the parents are divorced or in the process of a divorce, and there is considerable animosity between them. For example, the ex-husband may accuse his ex-wife of kidnapping their son when she takes him out of state to visit her parents for the weekend. The kidnapping charge would likely be dismissed if she can prove that she is allowed to do this pursuant to their custody agreement. Similarly, let’s say she removed her son from her ex-husband’s home because she believed he was in immediate danger. If she can prove that she had reasonable cause for concern, it’s likely that she will be able to defeat a kidnapping charge.

    Call Us Today to Speak with a Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Attorney

    Kidnapping charges are some of the most serious criminal charges you can face. You could go to jail for the rest of your life. Don’t risk your future by failing to hire a to defend you against these charges. Even if you think you have no chance, you need to hire a kidnapping defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible.

    The California criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley have the skills and the experience you need. With over 50 years of courtroom experience, we will work tirelessly for you and fight for your rights.  We can give you a free consultation – just call us at 800-755-5174 or email us today.

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