Aggravated kidnapping is the act of taking a person for ransom or reward, or to commit another crime like rape or robbery. California harshly punishes individuals who commit aggravated kidnapping under Penal Code 209. Attempting to commit extortion as part of kidnapping also has serious consequences.
There are several charges similar to PC 209 in California. Get additional answers to your questions by calling the Simmrin Law Group today. We will build the best defense for your case.
Defining the Act of Aggravated Kidnapping in California
It’s important to understand the definition of kidnapping before getting into the specifics about PC 209 charges. Kidnapping involves taking another person a “substantial distance” without their permission. Generally, kidnapping only occurs through the use of force or fear.
The court system in California uses PC 209 to prosecute individuals accused of “aggravated” kidnapping. There are two primary forms of aggravated kidnapping. Let’s review both of these criminal acts.
Penal Code 209(a): Kidnapping for Ransom
Technically, PC 209(a) is used to prosecute the act of kidnapping for ransom. This charge applies if anyone kidnaps or holds another person while:
- Trying to get a ransom or reward for their return
- Committing extortion
- Trying to obtain a valuable item or money from them
Note that kidnapping may occur in a number of different ways in California. Individuals may be kidnapped if they are seized against their will. Any form of abduction could result in kidnapping charges.
Penal Code 209(b): Kidnapping to Commit Another Crime
PC 209(b) covers different kinds of criminal acts associated with kidnapping. Individuals face this charge if they kidnap someone and intend to carry out:
- Rape or spousal rape
- Oral copulation
These are only examples of other crimes committed in association with kidnapping PC 209(b). These charges are very serious and should receive legal attention. You may reach out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to learn more by calling the Simmrin Law Group.
Results of a Conviction for Aggravated Kidnapping
Individuals who are convicted of kidnapping for ransom may face life in prison without the possibility of parole. The same sentence applies if individuals are convicted of kidnapping to commit another crime. However, the possibility of parole is only denied if the kidnapping victim dies or suffers bodily harm.
You should know that these are not the only charges used to prosecute aggravated kidnapping. The court also uses aggravated kidnapping charges to prosecute kidnapping a child under 14. Prosecutors use Penal Code 208b to handle this charge. Kidnapping a child under 14 is a serious legal offense, but it does not result in life in prison. Instead, a conviction could lead to:
- Up to 11 years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Formal probation
However, if you kidnap a child under the age of 14 for the purposes of monetary gain or to commit another crime, you will face life in prison, as with other aggravated kidnapping charges.
Can an Aggravated Kidnapping Charge Be Expunged?
In most cases, it is not possible to expunge a conviction for aggravated kidnapping. A conviction can not be expunged from your record if you served time in state prison because of the offense. A conviction for aggravated kidnapping will almost always result in a lengthy prison sentence, making expungement impossible.
However, in rare cases, a person convicted of aggravated kidnapping may be sentenced to formal probation rather than a prison sentence. When sentenced to formal probation for this charge, the defendant must typically serve a year in county jail. This jail sentence does not eliminate the chance for expungement.
Even if granted formal probation, expungement is unlikely. The term for formal probation is the same length of time a person would have to serve in prison. Since aggravated kidnapping often means a life sentence, the defendant will face a life sentence of formal probation.
Since expungement is only available to those who have completed their sentence, it is an incredibly unlikely option when a defendant is convicted of aggravated kidnapping.
Criminal Offenses Related to Penal Code 209
Note that there are other charges used to prosecute kidnapping, as well. Individuals may end up charged with acts such as:
- California Penal Code Section 207: Kidnapping
- California Penal Code Section 209.5: Kidnapping During Carjacking
- California Penal Code Section 210.5: False Imprisonment of a Hostage
These criminal charges come with different penalties. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may discuss specific facts about kidnapping charges with you.
Defenses for PC 209 Accusations in California
There are a number of defenses that may work to handle kidnapping for ransom charges in California. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you prepare a defense. Allowing a lawyer to review your legal situation can help you demonstrate that:
- You were falsely accused
- You did not engage in kidnapping
- You were coerced into confessing
You Were Falsely Accused
In some cases, kidnapping accusations are made in bad faith. Another individual may accuse you of kidnapping, even if they gave their consent to go with you. Alternatively, a witness may falsely identify you. A lawyer can work to show that you did not take someone against their will.
You did Not Engage in Kidnapping
Kidnapping has a specific legal definition, as we discussed. You may not face a kidnapping conviction if you took another person only a small distance. Kidnapping charges may also be avoided if you did not use force or fear to make a person come with you.
You Were Coerced Into Confessing
Police officers may go too far when they try to secure a confession after a kidnapping. They could attempt to force you to admit to an act you did not carry out. In this situation, a lawyer could build a defense for you.
Find Out More About Aggravated Kidnapping
The Simmrin Law Group may provide you with information about Penal Code 209: Aggravated Kidnapping charges. You can easily contact us for help by calling or completing our online contact form. Reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer now to discuss all your legal options after a PC 209 charge.