Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Lawyer
What is Kidnapping?
California law defines kidnapping as using force or fear to take, hold or detain another person and move them to another place without their consent. Kidnapping may involve the use of physical force or merely the threat of physical force. The victim must reasonably believe they are at risk of physical harm.
Kidnapping is considered a violent felony in the State of California. If you have been arrested on kidnapping charges, you may be facing a lengthy prison sentence and other harsh penalties. Do not leave your fate to chance. Contact an experienced Los Angeles kidnapping defense lawyer who can help you prepare a solid defense.
What Are the Penalties for Kidnapping in California?
If you are charged with kidnapping a person over the age of 14, you could face up to 8 years in state prison. You may also have to pay fines of up to $10,000, as well as restitution (financial compensation) to the victim.
Kidnapping of a child under the age of 14 is considered “aggravated” kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping also includes other situations such as kidnapping to commit a sex crime or a robbery or kidnapping for ransom or extortion. Aggravated kidnapping charges are subject to much harsher penalties, including up to life in state prison. If a victim was injured or killed in the kidnapping, you may be facing life without the possibility of parole.
California also recognizes other types of kidnapping, each of which is subject to different potential penalties:
- Kidnapping during a carjacking – If you commit a carjacking with a victim inside the car, you may be charged with kidnapping in addition to the carjacking itself. Kidnapping during a carjacking is punishable by life in state prison with the possibility of parole.
- Extortion by posing as a kidnapper – Posing as a kidnapper in order to collect a ransom is punishable by up to four years in state prison.
- Parental kidnapping – Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent without custody rights takes or hides a child with the intent of keeping that child from the lawful parent or guardian. Parental kidnapping is the only form of kidnapping in California that may be charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, in some circumstances. Felony parental kidnapping is punishable by up to four years in state prison. Misdemeanor parental kidnapping is punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Defenses to Kidnapping Charges
To convict you of kidnapping, the government must prove that:
- You took, held or detained another person by using force or fear;
- You moved the other person, or made the other person move, a “substantial distance”;
- The other person did not give consent to be moved; AND
- You did not actually and reasonably believe that the other person consented to be moved.
If the government cannot prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then you are not guilty of kidnapping.
One of the most common ways to fight kidnapping charges is to show that the alleged victim did, in fact, consent to go with you. Even if the alleged victim did not give verbal consent, you may still be able to show that you believed the alleged victim consented. A judge or jury must feel that this belief was reasonable. For example, if the alleged victim could move freely and voluntarily, this may help support a belief that the victim was not moved against his or her will.
Should I Call a Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Lawyer?
If you are facing kidnapping charges, an experienced Los Angeles kidnapping defense lawyer can review the facts of your case and help you understand all your options, including available defenses. The government often makes mistakes in prosecuting criminal charges, and if there are any errors in their case against you, we can use those mistakes to your advantage. Kidnapping charges are serious, but they do not have to cost you your freedom. Contact The Law Offices of Adrian M. Baca for a free and confidential initial consultation.