Kidnapping Attorney Los Angeles
Kidnapping is considered a violent crime and a felony because it involves holding or moving an individual—a child, a teen, an adult—against their will. The actor can be a stranger or someone familiar to the victim. To prove a charge of kidnapping, under California Penal Code Sec. 207, the prosecution must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:
- Moved the victim a substantial distance;
- Using force or fear;
- Doing so without the victim’s consent; and
- The defendant did not reasonably believe that the alleged victim consented to be moved.
If the victim is a child, using fraud to convince the child to go with the actor might be a substituted element of the crime instead of force or fear. The child’s age helps determine the amount of force or fear needed to constitute that element of the crime of kidnapping. And failure to get the consent of the parents might be the element, not the child’s consent, depending on the child’s age.
In California, there are different kinds of kidnapping. There is kidnapping to commit another crime, such as robbery, rape, or oral copulation. There is also kidnapping for ransom and kidnapping during a carjacking or other serious crimes.
In addition, there can be a charge of aggravated kidnapping under California Penal Code Sec 209:
- If the alleged victim is a minor under the age of 14 years
- Held for ransom
- Suffers bodily harm or death, or
- The kidnapping occurred during a carjacking or other serious crime.
Kidnapping can be charged as a violation of California or federal law. A complex set of factors determines federal charges. They include whether the victim was transported across state or international borders, a ransom was demanded and received, and if the FBI was involved in the investigation. Penalties for federal kidnapping convictions begin with ten years in federal prison.
Retaining skilled and experienced counsel early in a kidnapping investigation is necessary to preserve your options and protect your rights as a criminal defendant. The moment you learn that you are the target of such an investigation or upon your arrest. Contact RP Criminal Defense Law to schedule a consultation to permit our Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorneys to assess the prosecution’s case’s strength and guide you through the criminal prosecution process. We are located in Encino and Ontario.
At RP Criminal Defense Law, we provide aggressive individualized representation backed by experience and a thorough understanding of criminal law and criminal procedure. We know all the players—the police and investigators, the prosecutors in both state and federal jurisdictions, the judges who presided over Los Angeles area criminal courts, and the probation offices overseeing probation and parole.
What Are the Penalties for Kidnapping in California?
Because kidnapping is a severe felony, considered a violent crime, the penalties are harsh. A simple felony kidnapping charge could result in a sentence of up to 8 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. A conviction for aggravated kidnapping might result in up to 11 years in prison, or a life sentence, if the victim was under 14 years of age, if the kidnapping was for ransom, or if the kidnapping was committed along with certain sex crimes. If a firearm were used, penalties would increase under the gun enhancement statute, and a kidnapping conviction is a “strike” under California’s three-strikes law.
Legal Defense for Kidnapping Charges
A variety of defenses can be raised to a charge of kidnapping. The defenses are appropriate depending on the specific facts of your case. In addition to a defense that you could not have been the perpetrator—alibi, mistaken identity, insanity—here are some possible defenses, depending on the factual circumstances of any case:
- An adult victim consented to go with you
- You had custodial or parental rights to travel with a child
- Your actions did not rise to the level of force, threat, or fraud
- You did not commit the crime and did not know that the intent of the person you were with was to abduct a person
- The victim was not moved a substantial distance
- You took a child under the age of 14 to a different location to protect them from imminent harm
A viable defense to a charge of kidnapping is a complex legal decision that can only be made once your attorneys know the extent of the evidence, the credibility of the witnesses, and the quality of the police investigation conducted after the crime occurred. In addition, the selection of the trial judge has a major impact on the choice of defense. A criminal defense attorney with experience in the Encino and Los Angeles area criminal courts brings to you an intimate knowledge of all the players—the police, the prosecutors, the investigators, the judges, and the probation officers. That’s why you should consider hiring RP Criminal Defense Law to represent you in the Los Angeles area.
What Is the Criminal Intent Element Required for Kidnapping?
As a felony, kidnapping, whether simple or aggravated, requires evidence of criminal intent. That criminal intent means that the actor specifically wanted to commit an act that would:
- Bring harm to the victim or someone else, i.e., a bystander
- Confine or hold the victim in a secret location
- Demand a ransom
- Commit another criminal offense, such as a sexual crime, robbery, or carjacking
- Subject the victim to involuntary servitude, or
- Interfere with the purpose of a government or political function
Kidnapping Defense Attorney Serving Los Angeles & San Bernadino
Facing a charge of kidnapping can be terrifying. You deserve a fair assessment of the strength of the prosecution’s case to determine how best to proceed. You deserve representation that will bring skill and expertise to examining the police reports and investigations. An independent investigation and laboratory testing to fully understand the weight of evidence and the savvy one gets from years of experience representing criminal defendants in Los Angeles and San Bernadino courts. Our offices are located in Encino and Ontario. Only seasoned criminal defense attorneys can realistically evaluate the evidence, the credibility of witnesses, and the predisposition of the trial judge. Contact us today for your initial consultation. A $250 fee will be charged and credited to your case if RP Criminal Defense Law is retained for your case.