Individuals who move someone against their will may be committing kidnapping in California. The state actually uses several specific laws to deal with kidnapping charges, including CA Penal Code Section 207: Kidnapping.
You can find out how California’s kidnapping charges work right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Strengthen your understanding of the definition of kidnapping. Go over the repercussions for a conviction and consider some legal defenses.
Defining California’s Laws on Kidnapping
PC 207 is the initial legal code that deals with kidnapping in California. However, the state may also use the following charges for “aggravated” kidnapping accusations:
- PC 208 If the Victim is Under 14
- PC 209 If the Victim is Kidnapped for Ransom, Extortion, or to be Raped or Robbed
- PC 209.5 If the Victim is Kidnapped During a Carjacking
All of these penal codes deal with the same basic act of kidnapping. Legally, kidnapping only occurs if an individual:
- Transports Someone a Considerable Distance
- The Transported Person Does Not Want to be Moved
- The Kidnapper Uses Force or Fear
In order to use force or fear, an individual either utilizes physical force against a victim or threatens the victim with physical harm.
The Penalties for Kidnapping in California
There are a number of serious penalties associated with a kidnapping conviction in California. A conviction under PC 207 – or a conviction for “simple” kidnapping – may lead to:
- Prison Time: Up to Eight Years
- Fines: Up to $10,000
Penalties for aggravated kidnapping convictions can be harsher. They also may vary depending on the exact nature of the kidnapping. Individuals could face up to 11 years in prison for kidnapping someone under the age of 14. Additionally, the sentence could increase to life in prison for kidnappings that:
- Involve Ransom, Reward, or Extortion Demands
- Lead to a Robbery
- Include Sex Crimes Such as Rape or Lewd Acts with a Minor
- Were Accomplished with Carjacking
- Cause Great Bodily Harm or Death
Kidnapping Examples in California
Man A is a teacher who has become obsessed with one of his students. He decides to pick the girl up after school and take her away so they can be together. She does not want to go with him, but he forces her into his vehicle and begins to drive towards the border with Mexico. He could be charged with kidnapping.
Man B carjacks a woman in a parking garage. During the carjacking, he decides he can get more money if he brings her along and tries to get a bribe for her safe return. He knocks her unconscious and drives off. He could be prosecuted for aggravated kidnapping.
Focus on Legal Defenses for Kidnapping Charges
As you can see, kidnapping accusations are punished very harshly by the court system in California. It is vitally important that individuals accused of kidnapping get legal help on their side immediately. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can go over specific kidnapping cases. Legal professionals may be able to construct a defense to kidnapping charges by showing:
No One Was Moved Against Their Will
You should not be charged with kidnapping if the alleged victim agreed to be moved. Even if a passenger decides they would have rather not come with you after you reach your destination, you should not be convicted of kidnapping if they agreed to travel with you during the trip.
You Didn’t Move Anyone a Sufficient Distance
Kidnapping involves moving someone a considerable distance, one that forces a victim to experience additional harm. Moving someone a small distance – even against their will – is generally not enough to warrant a kidnapping conviction.
You Were Legally Traveling with Your Child
Parents are – in many situations – allowed to travel with their children. This applies if you have lawful custody of your child and continues to apply even if the child’s other parent does not want you to travel with them. However, individuals cannot take their own child in order to commit an illegal or criminal act.
You Were Carrying Out a Citizen’s Arrest
Legally, you are allowed to place other people in a citizen’s arrest in California in some circumstances. Generally, you must either:
- See Someone Carry Out a Felony
- Reasonably Believe/Know Someone Committed a Felony
Depending on the facts surrounding your case, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to construct a solid defense against kidnapping charges.
Get Help Handling Kidnapping Charges Now
CA Penal Code Section 207: Kidnapping charges can have a serious impact on the rest of your life. Get ready to deal with a kidnapping accusation with the Simmrin Law Group. Let our criminal defense lawyers start going over your case by completing our online contact form, or calling (310) 997-4688.
You can get answers to your legal questions with our FREE initial case evaluation.