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Kidnapping charges in California are prosecuted aggressively and can result in serious consequences, including substantial fines and prison time. Any person who uses force or fear to move another person without their consent can be found guilty of kidnapping.
Even though it is called kidnapping, to be charged with this crime it does not matter if the alleged victim is a child or an adult. If the alleged victim is a child, however, the charges will be aggravated, and the potential punishment, if convicted, will be even harsher. Besides the potential legal consequences, being charged and possibly found guilty of kidnapping can ruin one’s reputation and negatively affect one’s future opportunities.
If you or a loved one have been charged with kidnapping or any other criminal offense, call the Law Offices of David Silldorf today to schedule your free consultation and begin building your defense strategy. Kidnapping charges are very serious and these cases can be complex. It is critical to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will do everything possible to defend your rights and protect your future.
We’ve helped hundreds of clients fight their cases resulting in acquittal, dismissal, or reduced charges. Give our kidnapping defense attorneys a call today and find out how we will fight to protect your rights.
Kidnapping is a serious felony offense in California. The potential custody time and fines associated with kidnapping charges can range drastically depending on the age of the alleged victim and the conduct involved. The most serious kidnapping charges can result in life in prison without the possibility of parole. It is important to hire an attorney with knowledge of kidnapping laws and experience defending against these types of charges when looking for the right kidnapping defense attorney for your case.
Below are some of the different types of kidnapping offenses you can be charged with in California:
California Penal Code § 207(a) states that 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 into another part of the same county is guilty of kidnapping. “Force” includes the actual use of physical effort or strength such as pushing, dragging, or restraining somebody to move them from one place to another. “Fear” includes threatening to inflict imminent physical harm such as using a weapon or threatening to hurt somebody or their loved ones if they do not cooperate.
In most kidnapping cases, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged victim was moved a “substantial distance.” A substantial distance can be any distance that is greater than a slight or trivial distance. It is up to a jury to decide if the distance moved was substantial. A jury can consider the actual distance moved and factors such as (1) whether the distance decreased the captor’s chances of detection; (2) decreased the chances of the victim’s escape; (3) increased the potential risk of harm to the victim; or (4) increased the captor’s opportunities to commit more crimes.
Simple kidnapping is a felony offense and is punishable by up to 8 years is state prison and a fine of $10,000. It is important to note that kidnapping is considered a “serious felony” and counts as a strike offense that will be used to increase penalties for any future convictions.
California law recognizes several kidnapping offenses and related crimes that are frequently charged in addition to PC § 207(a) (simple kidnapping). The penalty for such charges drastically increases if the alleged victim was a child under the age of 14, the alleged victim was injured or killed, a ransom was demanded, or the kidnapping was part of a carjacking. Below are some of the most common offenses you can be charged with in addition to simple kidnapping, depending on the circumstances of the alleged conduct involved.
California Penal Code § 209(a) states that a 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 a person who aids or abets any such act, is guilty of a felony kidnapping for ransom, reward, or extortion.
If the victim suffers death or bodily harm or is intentionally confined in a manner that exposes them to a substantial likelihood of death, the accused, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to state prison for life without possibility of parole and a fine of up to $10,000. If there is no death or bodily harm to the victim, the accused, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to state prison for life with the possibility of parole and a fine of up to $10,000.
California Penal Code § 209.5(a) states that 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, is guilty of felony kidnapping during a carjacking.
To secure a conviction the prosecution must prove: (1) that the movement of the alleged victim was beyond merely incidental to the commission of the carjacking; (2) the alleged victim was moved a “substantial distance” (as defined above) from the vicinity of the carjacking; and (3) that the movement increased the risk of harm to the alleged victim over and above the risk of harm present in the crime of carjacking itself.
If convicted of kidnapping during a carjacking, there’s a minimum sentence of one year in county jail and a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
California Penal Code § 236 defines the crime of “False Imprisonment” as the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. California Penal Code § 210.5 states that every person who commits the offense of false imprisonment, as defined in § 236, against a person for purposes of protection from arrest, which substantially increases the risk of harm to the victim, or for purposes of using the person as a shield is guilty of felony hostage-taking. This offense is related to kidnapping because it is often charged along with simple kidnapping and requires the alleged victim to be physically moved in some manner.
Taking a hostage is a felony offense and if convicted, you face a sentence of up to eight years in state prison and a fine of $10,000. False imprisonment charges are most often seen in the context of domestic violence cases.
California Penal Code § 278 states that every person, not having a right to custody, who maliciously takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals any child with the intent to detain or conceal that child from a lawful custodian is guilty of child abduction without the right to custody. A “malicious” act involves intentionally doing something to disturb, defraud, annoy, or injure somebody else.
A “lawful custodian” is any person, guardian, or public agency having a right to custody of a child. This offense is related to kidnapping because it is a form of unlawful transportation of a human being. This offense is different from kidnapping, however, because the alleged victim must be a child under the age of 18 who somebody else has legal custody rights over. You cannot be convicted of this offense if you take an abandoned child in an effort to get them help.
Child abduction without the right to custody is a wobbler offense and can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the alleged conduct. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you face a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. If convicted of a felony, you face a sentence of up to four years in state prison and a fine of $10,000.
California Penal Code § 278.5(a) states that every person who takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals a child and maliciously deprives a lawful custodian of a right to custody, or a person of a right to visitation, is guilty of child abduction by depriving the right to custody or visitation. For purposes of this section, “visitation” means the time ordered by a court granting someone access to the child. If you obtain a child-custody order after taking a child covered by this section, that custody order is not a defense. You can be found guilty of this crime even if the child consented to the alleged offense conduct.
Child abduction by depriving the right to custody or visitation is a wobbler offense and can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the alleged conduct. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you face a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. If convicted of a felony, you face a sentence of up to three years in state prison and a fine of $10,000.
In any case involving kidnapping or a related offense, it is critical to call an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and identify possible defenses to avoid a conviction. Below are four common defenses that can be raised to defend against kidnapping charges:
CALCRIM No. 1215. Kidnapping (Pen. Code, § 207(a)) states the prosecution must prove the alleged victim did not consent to the movement in order to find someone guilty of kidnapping. In other words, you cannot be found guilty of kidnapping if the alleged victim (1) freely and voluntarily agreed to go with you or be moved; (2) was aware of the movement; and (3) had sufficient maturity and understanding to choose to go with you or be moved.
The government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged victim did not consent to go with the defendant. Further, a defendant is not guilty of kidnapping if (he/she) reasonably and actually believed that the alleged victim consented to the movement. The government has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably and actually believe the alleged victim consented to the movement. If the government cannot meet its burden, the defendant cannot be found guilty of kidnapping.
You may have a legal defense to kidnapping charges if the alleged victim consented to the movement of if you reasonably and actually believed they consented to the movement, even if they later claim that you took them against their will. It is important to note, however, that consent may be withdrawn at any time. You can be found guilty of kidnapping if you committed the act after the alleged victim withdrew consent.
CALCRIM No. 1226. Defense to Kidnapping: Citizen’s Arrest (Pen. Code, § 207(f)(2), 834, 837) defines a defense to kidnapping that permits a private citizen to arrest another if they have reasonable cause to believe that the other person committed a felony and in fact, a felony crime had been committed. Private citizens cannot use lethal force unless it is necessary for self-defense or defense of another person.
An example of this defense is if you hear a lady screaming for help and she tells you that a tall man in a blue sweater just robbed her at knifepoint and took her purse. She points in the direction the man ran off, and you see a tall man in a blue sweater with a purse trying to flee the scene. You chase him down and tackle him to prevent him from getting away. If you were to drag that man back to the scene of the crime and he is later apprehended by police, you will likely avoid kidnapping charges because the facts support your reasonable cause to believe that the tall man in the blue sweater committed a felony and in fact, a felony crime had occurred.
In most cases, the prosecution must prove that you moved the victim a “substantial distance” to be found guilty of kidnapping. A “substantial distance” is defined as any distance that is greater than a slight or trivial distance. As explained above, it is up to a jury to decide if the distance moved was substantial.
A jury can consider the actual distance moved and factors such as (1) whether the distance decreased the captor’s chances of detection; (2) decreased the chances of the victim’s escape; (3) increased the potential risk of harm to the victim; or (4) increased the captor’s opportunities to commit more crimes.
You may be acquitted of kidnapping charges under this defense if you only moved the alleged victim a slight or trivial distance or a distance that did not subject them to additional harm. For example, if you are in a heated argument with another person and you push them from one room into another, this movement likely isn’t “substantial” enough to satisfy the movement requirement for a kidnapping conviction. You may be guilty of another crime, such as battery and assault, but this movement would likely be considered trivial and would not subject the person moved to additional harm.
Like with any crime, if the prosecution has insufficient evidence to prove that you committed a kidnapping offense, the charges against you will likely be dismissed or result in a not-guilty verdict after trial because the government cannot meet its burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a kidnapping case, the main element that the prosecution must prove is that you moved the alleged victim in some manner. The prosecution will not be able to secure a guilty verdict for kidnapping absent proof of actual movement. The prosecution must also prove that there was some element of force or fear involved. If there is no evidence that you took, held, detained, or instilled fear in another person in any way, then the necessary elements for a kidnapping conviction have not been met and your charges will likely be dismissed before trial or acquitted at trial.
When looking for the right criminal defense attorney for your kidnapping case, it is important to work with an attorney who has experience defending against these types of charges and knowledge of the possible defenses that can be raised. At the Law Office of David Silldorf, we are experienced in kidnapping law and understand the complexity involved with these types of cases. We also understand the sensitivity associated with kidnapping charges and the negative impact they can have on one’s reputation and future.
Our attorneys have helped hundreds of defendants receive favorable outcomes in their cases. Every case is different, and no attorney can guarantee an outcome, but we always try to see if we can:
Our attorneys are passionate about defending your rights and will fight for you every step of the way to minimize or eliminate any potential negative consequences you face.
If you have been charged with any type of kidnapping or related offense it is essential to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of David Silldorf, we will fight to protect you and your rights to achieve the best possible result in your case. No matter what the charges are, you have the right to effective legal representation before speaking to anyone, including the police, at every stage of the proceedings.
When you work with the Law Offices of David Silldorf, you get the peace of mind of knowing that you are in experienced and trusted hands. Our reputation is to represent our clients fearlessly and aggressively, and we will do just that. We care about each of our clients and are determined to help. We are available 24/7 and will keep you updated on everything happening with your case. Call today for your free consultation so we can start fighting for your rights.
During your initial consultation, we will walk you through the charges and allegations, explain our representation process, answer any questions you may have, and let you know what the next steps of your case should be. After our consultation, we will get to work right away to examine your case and start building a solid defense.
At the Law Offices of David Silldorf, we work tirelessly to gather evidence, identify helpful witnesses, look for holes in the prosecution’s case, conduct our own investigation, establish a strong defense strategy, and do everything we can to get the best possible result for your case.
If you are looking for an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will stop at nothing to help you get the best possible outcome for your case, you have come to the right place. David Silldorf and his
associates have more than 45 years of experience defending people accused of all types of crime.
When you choose David Silldorf Law, you can rest assured you are doing everything you can to best position yourself against the government. Do not hesitate to call today so we can begin putting together your legal defense and start fighting for you.
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Client charged with criminal storage of a firearm, receiving a firearm while under a restraining order, and child abuse after Client’s juvenile son accidentally shot his best friend with Client’s ghost gun. Client received a sentence of PROBATION, credit for time served (1-day custody).
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Client arrested on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including: corporal injury to a spouse; battery of a current or former significant other; and two counts of cruelty to a child by endangering their health. Case DISMISSED before trial.
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