Los Angeles Kidnapping Lawyers
The crime of kidnapping in Los Angeles is covered by California Penal Code 207 to 209.5. Showing a kidnapping pivots on the prosecution proving the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Moving a person a significant distance
- Without his or her consent
- By using force, the threat of force, instilling fear or using fraud
Kidnapping is a felony that’s punishable by up to eight years in prison. Anybody who is convicted of kidnapping is required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
Aggravated kidnapping also involves the significant moving of another person. It can carry a sentence of life in prison. To be convicted of aggravated kidnapping, one must:
- Use force, fear or fraud on a victim under 14-years-old
- Require payment of a ransom
- Cause serious injury to or the death of the victim
- Commit an abduction during a car jacking
- Violate other laws in connection with a kidnapping
Although there are many defenses to a kidnapping charge, the two most common defenses turn on consent and how far the alleged victim was moved.
The alleged victim must have verbally objected to or physically resisted being moved to another location. To raise a consent defense, the alleged kidnapper must have a reasonably based good faith belief that the alleged victim consented to being moved. The purported victim cannot have asked to be returned to where he or she was taken from. If the alleged victim asks to be dropped off somewhere, the law requires the accused kidnapper to comply in order to maintain the defense. Neither children nor adults with developmental or other mental disabilities are deemed incapable of expressing the requisite consent recognized in California law.
Movement of the alleged kidnapping victim
Whether a victim was moved sufficiently to satisfy the movement requirement of the kidnapping statute is determined on a case by case basis. Movement can’t be trivial. Each case has its own set of facts, and the movement must be a substantial movement. It’s not as simple as being taken from one place to another. Substantial movement might include moving an alleged victim from one room in a building to another where the risk of harm to the victim dramatically increases. On the other hand, it might involve movement that drastically decreases the chances of the getting caught.
Force, the threat of force, fear and fraud
Physical force might involve restraining somebody or beating him or her into submission. Fear can involve insistence of compliance coupled with the threat of bodily harm to the purported victim or his or her family. Fraud is primarily involved in aggravated kidnappings.
If you’ve been charged with kidnapping in or around Los Angeles, you’ll need a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in cases involving kidnappings. The facts surrounding your charge must be specific. If they don’t support the charge, the case might be dismissed. If they do support the charge, alternative sentencing could be available. We fully understand the potential gravity of these cases along with the best strategies for defending them. If you have been charged with kidnapping, call us for a free consultation and case evaluation. Your freedom and reputation are on the line.