Kidnapping, in the most basic sense, refers to the taking of an individual against his or her will, or the confinement of a person in a controlled space. According to FindLaw, some state laws require that for kidnapping to exist, the kidnapper must have an ulterior motive, such as extortion or the intent to commit a crime. Kidnapping may also exist if a parent takes a child against legal custody orders. Regardless of the motivation behind the taking, kidnapping is a serious crime with harsh penalties.
State Vs. Federal Jurisdiction
States typically have jurisdiction over kidnapping cases, though the federal government may become involved if the kidnapping crosses state lines. Per the federal criminal code, kidnapping is a felony offense that carries a prison term of 20 years or more. If you face kidnapping charges, you may want to know what your defense options are. FindLaw explains kidnapping defenses in brief.
Your defense to kidnapping charges all depends on which laws the charges allege you violated. It also depends on whether you face felony or criminal kidnapping charges. Generally, however, defendants in kidnapping cases have luck with a few common defenses. The first is victim consent, meaning the victim accompanied you of his or her own volition. The second defense is that the victim is your relative. This defense, combined with the first, is often the strongest.
The third defense option is a lack of intent to use deadly force. Though this defense may not result in a dismissal of the charges, it could, at the very least, result in the reduction of them.
The fourth defense is mistake, ignorance or lack of knowledge. For instance, you may have taken your child across the state line by accident and without fully understanding your rights per the custody agreement.
The fifth and final defense is insanity. You may be able to cite mental instability or mental defect as your reason for conducting the crime.