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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:
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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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Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.