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California’s laws treat kidnapping as one of the most serious crimes. Depending upon the circumstances, a person who is arrested for kidnapping may be facing as much as 25 years to life in prison if they are convicted. Even conviction under a lesser kidnapping charge can mean the loss of several years of your life as well as having a felony record. If you are being investigated for kidnapping or have already been arrested and charged, you need the assistance of a qualified Los Angeles kidnapping defense lawyer.
California’s Definition of Kidnapping
In order for an action to constitute kidnapping, the defendant must be proved to have used force or fear to compel another person to move from one location to another against their will. It is up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant did not have, and knew they did not have, the consent of the other person for the movement. This is essentially simple kidnapping. The victim can be moved within the same county, to a different county or even to a different state or country. Basically, the movement must be substantial but the jury charged with deciding the verdict in the case has some latitude when it comes to deciding what distance they would consider substantial as opposed to trivial.
A defendant may also be accused of aggravated kidnapping in California. If a victim is held for ransom or purposes of extortion, then this would lead to aggravated kidnapping charges. Moreover, a kidnapper who takes another person to commit an additional crime like a rape or other sexual assault or a robbery may be charged with aggravated kidnapping. Instances where the victim is seriously injured or loses their life may also result in aggravated kidnapping charges.
Less common types of kidnapping in California include a kidnapping that occurs in the course of a carjacking and the crime of posing as a kidnapper in order to extort money from someone else. All of these kidnapping offenses are charged at the felony level and have the possibility for long prison terms. Parental kidnapping is occasionally an exception in that it may be charged at the misdemeanor level or the felony level. Which charges the prosecutor pursues depends largely upon the specific facts in the case.
Consequences for Kidnapping in Los Angeles
A person who is arrested for kidnapping in California may be looking at a long prison term if they are convicted. A simple kidnapping charge can lead to a term of three, five or eight years. However, if the victim of the kidnapping is a child less than 14 years old, then the term may be as much as five, eight or 11 years.
Aggravated kidnapping comes with even stiffer penalties. The most common sentence is life in prison. This may be either with or without the possibility of parole. Typically, cases where the kidnapping victim was harmed or killed result in a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A conviction for a carjacking kidnapping can similarly lead to life imprisonment, though parole may be a possibility. Posing as a kidnapper may bring a sentence of two to four years in prison while parental kidnapping may mean sentences of from one to five years.
Additionally, someone who is convicted of kidnapping in Los Angeles may be required to pay significant fines and may also have to make restitution to the victim. The defendant convicted on kidnapping charges will also have a felony record that can make it difficult to do normal things like getting hired for a job or renting an apartment. Even worse, a kidnapping conviction is considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law. This means that being convicted of an additional strike offense can mean receiving a doubled sentence. If the kidnapping conviction is a second strike, then the defendant is looking at an even longer prison term than those discussed above.
Hire an Experienced Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Attorney
Plainly, facing kidnapping charges in either state or federal court in California is no small matter. Many defenses are available to people who are facing these accusations. These include believing that the victim had given consent to the movement and a lack of intent. It’s also possible that there is insufficient evidence to convict or that the charges are being made against the wrong person. While numerous possibilities exist it is not possible to begin exploring them until you contact a Southern California kidnapping defense lawyer.
The practitioners at this firm have significant experience when it comes to representing defendants in state and federal court against kidnapping charges. They believe in providing a zealous defense. Part of that effort is conducting a thorough, independent investigation that will call all of the prosecution’s evidence into question. Witness testimony and physical evidence will all be reviewed as will the methods of investigation employed by law enforcement personnel. If the authorities in any way violated your Constitutional rights or made other errors, then these actions may mean that the District Attorney must drop the charges against you.
Contact one of our qualified Los Angeles kidnapping defense attorneys today. We understand how important it is for you to receive an aggressive legal defense, and that is precisely what we provide. Call or click today so we can being formulating a strategy to protect your interests and providing valuable advice about talking with authorities.