Los Angeles Kidnapping Lawyers
According to California Penal Code 207, kidnapping is defined as taking a person against their will to a different location that is a substantial distance from their original location.
This could involve taking them to a different county, state, country, or location in a different part of the same county. Kidnapping refers to taking someone anywhere using means including force, intimidation, threats, deception, fraud, or blackmail.
What is the Criminal Intent Element Required for Kidnapping?
The criminal intent element required for kidnapping is the specific intent to commit a criminal act that will:
- Harm the victim or someone else
- Confine or hold the victim in secret
- Extort a ransom
- Commit a separate offense
- Subject the victim to involuntary servitude
- Interfere with the purpose of the government or a political function
Prosecution and Legal Definition
California Penal Code 207(a) 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.
The prosecution must prove the following to show that someone is guilty of kidnapping under Penal Code section 207:
- You took, held, or detained another person by using force or by instilling reasonable fear
- Using that force or fear, you moved the other person or made them move a substantial distance
- The other person did not consent to the movement
- You did not or could not reasonably believe that the other person gave their consent to move locations or be moved
What Is Aggravated Kidnapping?
Aggravated kidnapping involves kidnapping someone while committing another crime, such as robbery, extortion, or sexual assault.
To establish an aggravated kidnapping, the prosecutor must prove that you intended to commit the underlying crime at the time that you moved the victim. Aggravated kidnapping will result in more severe punishment under California law.
Specifically, kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for five, eight, or eleven years. If such a kidnapping results in the death or serious injury of the victim, you can receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
This is covered by Penal Codes 207(b), 209(a), 209(b), and 209.5(a):
- Penal Code 207(b)
Every person, who for the purpose of committing any act defined in Section 288, hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like, any child under the age of 14 years to go out of this country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.
- Penal Code 209(a)
Any person who seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps, or carries away another person by any means whatsoever with intent to hold or detain, or who holds or detains, that person for ransom, reward, or to commit extortion or to exact from another person any money or valuable thing, or any person who aids or abets any such act, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole in cases in which any person subjected to any such act suffers death or bodily harm, or is intentionally confined in a manner which exposes that person to a substantial likelihood of death, or shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole in cases where no such person suffers death or bodily harm.
- Penal Code 209.5(a)
Any person who, during the commission of a carjacking and in order to facilitate the commission of the carjacking, kidnaps another person who is not a principal in the commission of the carjacking shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.
Kidnapping for Child Molestation
Kidnapping a child with the intent to commit child molestation can be punished by up to eight years in state prison. Even if no lewd acts were committed, a defendant can still be charged with this if the prosecution can prove the intent to commit them.
This is covered by Penal Codes 207(b) and Penal Code 288(a):
Except as provided in subdivision (i), a person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act, including any of the acts constituting other crimes provided for in Part 1, upon or with the body, or any part or member thereof, of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, six, or eight years.
Kidnapping a Child or Person Incapable of Consent
Kidnapping a child or someone who is incapable of giving consent, such as a person with cognitive impairment, is covered by Penal Codes 207(a) and Penal Code 207(e):
For purposes of those types of kidnapping requiring force, the amount of force required to kidnap an unresisting infant or child is the amount of physical force required to take and carry the child away a substantial distance for an illegal purpose or with an illegal intent.
Kidnapping for Ransom, Reward, or Extortion
Kidnapping someone to extort them for money or valuables, to extract a ransom from their friends and family, or to otherwise obtain a reward for kidnapping them is a type of aggravated kidnapping that is punished by life in state prison, with the possibility of parole only if the victim is unharmed. Penal Code 209(a) covers kidnapping for ransom or extortion.
Kidnapping for Robbery, Rape, or Other Sex Offenses
If a kidnapping takes place to facilitate a robbery or enable the defendant to commit a sexual crime can be punished by life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Penal Code 209(b) covers this type of aggravated kidnapping:
Any person who kidnaps or carries away any individual to commit robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation, sodomy, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, or 289, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.
Kidnapping During a Carjacking
Kidnapping during a carjacking means that you kidnapped someone as part of a carjacking. For example, making a driver move over to the passenger seat so that you can drive their car a substantial distance from the original location, with them still inside it.
Kidnapping during a carjacking is covered by Penal Code 207(a), Penal Code 209.5(a), and Penal Code 215(a):
“Carjacking” is the felonious taking of a motor vehicle in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, or from the person or immediate presence of a passenger of the motor vehicle, against his or her will and with the intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person in possession of the motor vehicle of his or her possession, accomplished by means of force or fear.
What are the Potential Penalties in Los Angeles
The penalty for kidnapping can vary greatly depending on whether the kidnapping is connected to other crimes committed in the same course of action and whether the victim was harmed, killed, or put in circumstances likely to result in serious harm or death.
Kidnappings that are not aggravated by additional crimes are punishable by up to eight years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties for Aggravated Kidnapping
Aggravated kidnappings are punishable by life in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Depending on the nature of the other offenses committed during the kidnapping, and whether the victim was harmed, you may or may not have the possibility of parole.
All kidnappings are serious felonies that will count as a strike in California’s three-strikes law. Getting three such strikes will result in a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison up to life imprisonment.
We Develop An Effective Defense
There are several legal defenses that can apply to charges of kidnapping. The most common defenses against kidnapping charges include:
- The victim consented to move or be moved to the second location
- The distance traveled was trivial, such as moving someone to a different room of a house
- You are being falsely accused
- You have a legal right to travel with the child because you are their parent or guardian
- You took a child below the age of 14 to a different location in order to protect them from imminent harm
Schedule a Free Consultation Now
Kidnapping charges of any kind are very serious felony charges that can result in a lengthy prison sentence. As a result, you need expert legal help from a criminal defense attorney at Manshoory Law to ensure you get the best possible outcome in court. If you or a loved one have been accused of kidnapping, contact our Los Angeles kidnapping lawyers immediately to get a free case analysis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Sue For Kidnapping?
Yes. You can also seek payment from the California Victim Compensation Board, or apply for restitution from the California criminal court.
Can You Get Bail For Kidnapping?
The bail amount for kidnapping is $100,000. The bail amount for aggravated kidnapping is $1,000,000.
Is Kidnapping A Felony In California?
Yes, all kidnapping charges are felonies affected by the three-strikes law.
How Many Years Does Kidnapping Carry?
Kidnapping can result in up to life imprisonment without parole, depending on the case.
Is Abduction The Same As Kidnapping?
No. Child abduction involves intentionally keeping a child you don’t have custody of away from their parents or guardians. Kidnapping involves taking a person of any age from one location to another without their consent, using force.
What Is Legally Considered Kidnapping?
Detaining someone and/or moving them a substantial distance, using force, threats, fraud, or coercion.