Kidnapping - David E. Stanley, APLC

Child kidnapping is a crime that is punishable by state or federal prosecution. According to Louisiana law, there are many types of child kidnapping depending on who is accused of taking the kid, the child’s age, and the potential motive.

Kidnapping is one of the most severe criminal acts for which a person may be prosecuted. Even if you are under investigation or suspected of abduction but are never prosecuted, you may experience lifelong social shame. If you are found guilty of kidnapping, you’ll probably face harsh legal consequences and have difficulty finding work in the future. It is best to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in your region immediately if you are accused of kidnapping.

What is Kidnapping?

Kidnapping is an illegal constraint of a person’s liberty by the use of force or the threat of use of force with the intent to eject the victim into another nation is a common law offense. According to contemporary legislation, this offense is often discovered when the victim is transferred to another area or disguised. In certain countries, kidnapping is elevated to first-degree or aggravated kidnapping if it is coupled with physical harm, sexual assault, or a demand for payment. Abduction is a wider phrase than kidnapping, which often does not include the threat or use of force, even though the two terms are sometimes used synonymously.

What Distinguishes Kidnapping from Abduction?

Abduction is a component of kidnapping in various states. Abduction is the act of seizing and removing someone via coercion or force. In certain places, the word “abduction” is used to refer to the deliberate kidnapping of a person without that person’s permission (rather than by force), such as when a parent kidnaps their child in defiance of another parent’s parental custody rights (child abduction).

What Constitutes Kidnapping?

Although kidnapping is illegal in every state, each one has its definition of crime under its laws. A person is kidnapped when they are confined, abducted, restrained, or moved without their permission and with one of the following elements in mind:

  • For ransom or reward as a hostage or shield to detain as an involuntary servant to conduct or enable a crime or run from a felony
  • To abuse, sexually assault, or inflict physical injury on the victim.
  • To keep as a hostage or shield.

Whether the kidnapper succeeds in their mission is unimportant; what counts is their intention.

Different Kinds of Kidnappings

Simple Kidnapping

Simple kidnapping is defined as:

  1. The willful, violent grabbing and transportation of any individual from one location to another without that person’s permission.
  2. Taking a kid under 14 who is not his own intentionally without the parent’s permission.
  3. The willful removal of someone legitimately committed to an institution for orphans, the crazy, the weak-minded, or anything similar without the permission of the appropriate authorities.
  4. Without the legal custodian’s permission, any parent may intentionally remove their kid from the state. But, at the same time, it is in the care of someone to whom a court of competent jurisdiction in any state has granted custody.
  5. The taking and removal from the state of a child placed in his temporary care by any court of competent jurisdiction in the state by a person other than the father.

Simple kidnapping is a felony with a maximum $5,000 fine, a maximum 5-year jail sentence with or without hard labor, or both. Anyone found guilty of simple kidnapping of a juvenile under 18 must register with the state as a sex offender for life, which must be done every year. Simple kidnapping is seen as a violent crime.

Aggravated Child Kidnapping

Any kid under the age of 13 who is taken, seduced or removed from a place without authorization by a person other than a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian to keep the child hidden from his or her is considered to have been subject to aggravated kidnapping.

The punishment for aggravated abduction of a child is life in prison with hard labor without the possibility of release, probation, or sentence reduction. Despite the rules mentioned above, if the kid is returned without physical or sexual abuse, the criminal will be prosecuted in line with the Second Degree Kidnapping laws.

Anyone found guilty of aggravated kidnapping of a child must register with the state as a sex offender for life, which must be done every year. Aggravated kidnapping of children is seen as a violent crime.

Kidnapping in the Second Degree

Second-degree kidnapping is the taking and transporting of any person from one location to another without their consent, the luring or convincing of any individual to go between locations; or the confinement or compelled concealment of any individual.

Any conduct that qualifies as kidnapping in the second degree when the victim is one of the following:

  1. Employed as a hostage or shield;
  2. Employed to aid in committing a crime or fleeing after doing or attempting to commit one;
  3. Being assaulted sexually or physically;
  4. Held captive or taken hostage for 72 or more hours, or
  5. When the perpetrator brandishes a hazardous weapon or gives the victim cause to suspect that he brandishes a dangerous weapon, the victim is imprisoned or abducted.

Second-degree abduction is punishable by a 5 to a 40-year sentence of hard labor in prison. At least two years of the sentence must be served without parole, probation, or sentence suspension. In addition, anyone found guilty of second-degree kidnapping must register with the state for life as a serial offender, which must be done annually. Kidnapping in the second degree is regarded as a violent crime.

Aggravated Kidnapping

Aggravated kidnapping is defined as the commission of any of the following crimes to coerce the victim or another person into giving up something valuable or granting an advantage in exchange for the release of the person actually or ostensibly under the offender’s control:

  1. The unlawful taking and transportation of any individual from one location to another; or
  2. Luring or convincing somebody to go from one location to another;
  3. The incarceration or forced concealment of any individual.

The punishment for aggravated abduction is life in prison with hard labor without the possibility of release, probation, or sentence reduction. Every year, anybody convicted of aggravated kidnapping must register as a sex offender for their lifetime. Aggravated kidnapping is seen as a violent crime.

How States Define Kidnapping Differently

In certain places, forced detention or abduction qualifies as kidnapping if done so with threats or deception. The presence of a second purpose, such as keeping a victim hostage or demanding a ransom, is not necessary for the prosecution to succeed in getting a kidnapping conviction; nevertheless, if it is established, the consequences might be severe.

The question of whether or how much movement of the victim is required for a kidnapping conviction is another prevalent area of state variation. If the victim is not physically moved, several jurisdictions classify the crime as false imprisonment or constraint rather than abduction.

How is Kidnapping Dealt With?

Kidnapping is a severe criminal violation carrying life in prison as a punishment. It is divided into crimes with varying seriousness under several state legislation. For example, a charge of first-degree kidnapping, often known as aggravated kidnapping, could be brought if the alleged kidnapper physically hurt, sexually assaulted, or put the victim in grave danger while being kidnapped.

Penalties in the State for Kidnapping

Long jail terms are often part of kidnapping punishments. The most severe punishments, which may include life in prison, are often reserved by states for abduction charges involving small children or those that cause the victim considerable injury. For other abduction charges, it’s typical to see felony jail terms of 20 years or more. In many areas, the penalties are even less severe if the victim is returned to the kidnapper in a secure location.

  • State Penalties on Kidnapping
    Although most abduction charges are tried as state felonies, the federal government may also prosecute someone for kidnapping if the kidnapping occurs over state borders. You may be prosecuted with federal and state offenses because federal prosecutors may pursue abduction accusations.
  • Federal Penalties on Kidnapping
    Federal laws include strict consequences for kidnapping. A court may sentence the defendant under the legislation to any period of years in jail, up to and including life. There would be a mandatory minimum punishment of 20 years in jail if the victim was a minor.

Limitations on Criminal Responsibility in Kidnapping Cases

There is sometimes no temporal restriction on when abduction offenses may be charged. The criminal statute of limitations designates this time frame. In contrast to other criminal cases where a prosecutor may only have a limited amount of time to file charges, abduction and murder generally have extremely long or no statute of limitations.

What Does Louisiana Law Consider to be Kidnapping of a Child?

Prosecutors in Louisiana who charge someone with aggravated kidnapping of a child are accusing them of removing a child under the age of 13 without prior consent and intending to keep them away from their parents or legal guardians. The legal system views aggravated child kidnapping as a severe crime, and heavy punishments may be imposed. If found guilty of kidnapping a child seriously, the penalty may be life in jail without the possibility of release. However, if the kid is securely rescued and has not experienced physical or sexual abuse, lesser sentences of up to 40 years may be possible.

Contrarily, the simple kidnapping of a child is taking a child under 14 without the parent’s or legal guardian’s permission. Taking children during a custody dispute is also included in the definition of simple kidnapping. A person accused of simple kidnapping may have taken a child without permission from a person who had been granted custody to undermine the court’s authority to make custody decisions for the child. A simple kidnapping conviction may result in a jail sentence of a maximum of five years and a fine of up to $5,000.

Interfering with a child’s custody is a less serious but related felony. This felony is defined by Louisiana law as the kidnapping of a child by a non-custodial parent to keep the child away from the custodial parent. A six-month prison term and a $500 fine are possible punishments for this crime. However, if the accused reasonably thought that his actions were taken to ensure the child’s welfare, it might be a defense to the offense.

When children are involved, parents and other people could make snap judgments that have long-term repercussions. Everyone has a right to an effective defense. It can be essential to obtain knowledgeable legal counsel if you have been charged with kidnapping a child to help with your case.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Main Reason for Kidnapping?

Gaining a ransom or reward, enabling the commission of a crime, frightening the victim or a third party, and, under certain circumstances, taking a child from the care of an ex-spouse are just a few examples of the reasons or motives behind the kidnapping.

What is an Example of Kidnapping?

An example of abduction is the Express Kidnap. The student is held captive, and a ransom demand is made. The hostage-takers hold the student at knifepoint and demand that they withdraw the most money possible from a cash-out machine to complete the payment.

What Type of Crime is Kidnap?

Under common law, kidnapping is a crime. The crime of kidnapping has four components:

  • The abduction of a person by another
  • The use of force or trickery
  • The lack of consent
  • The absence of a legal justification

Kidnapping often occurs in conjunction with other crimes, such as claims of sexual assault.

Your Aggressive Defense Representation

This federal violation qualifies for the death penalty or even a life sentence when tried in federal court. Contact our skilled group of federal criminal defense lawyers for a consultation if you or a family member is being investigated for, has been charged with, or has been arrested for federal abduction under United States Code, Title 18, Section 1201. In all 50 states, clients facing federal charges are represented by the well-regarded criminal defense company David E. Stanley, APLC. To discuss your case’s specifics, contact our legal office. We can help you to strive toward the best result in your case, including via a prefiling intervention. In major federal cases, aggressive defense counsel is required to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

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David E. Stanley, APLC
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Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(225) 416-5422