Kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes outlined in the California Penal Code. If you or a loved one are facing charges of kidnapping, it is in your best interest to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Kidnapping is always charged as a felony in California, so a potential conviction could cost you many years of your life in prison.
With the stakes so high, it is critical that you hire the best kidnapping attorney available. William S. Kroger Attorney at Law is an experienced Los Angeles kidnapping attorney that fiercely advocates for the rights of his clients. Contact William S. Kroger Attorney at Law if you have been charged with a crime in either Downey or Los Angeles County.
Elements of the Crime of Kidnapping in Los Angeles County
According to California Penal Code § 207, kidnapping is when you move another person a substantial distance through the use of force or fear against their will. This version of the crime is often referred to as “simple” kidnapping. This is in contrast to the more serious crime of aggravated kidnapping.
Aggravated kidnapping, on the other hand, is the moving of another person without their consent using force, fear or fraud. Additionally, for the crime to qualify as aggravated kidnapping one of the four following elements must also be present:
- The victim is under the age of 14,
- You hold the victim for ransom,
- The victim is injured or killed, or
- The kidnapping occurs during a carjacking.
Regardless of whether a crime is charged as simple or aggravated kidnapping, there are a few common elements that must be present. They include:
Moving Another Person In Downey, CA
For a crime to be kidnapping, you must have moved the victim a substantial distance. That means it must have been more than a trivial distance. When considering if the distance moved was substantial, the court will consider the actual distance traveled, whether or not the movement decreased the likelihood of being caught, and whether the move increased the victim's risk of harm. William Kroger is a Kidnapping defense attorney ready to defend you as soon as possible.
Consent in Downey, CA
Even if all of the other elements of the crime are met, you have not committed a kidnapping if the alleged victim consented to be moved. You can't kidnap a person that has voluntarily gone with you. However, the consent must be genuine. If the alleged victim only agreed to go with you because they were afraid there was no valid consent. Additionally, children, as well as adults incapacitated by mental illnesses or intoxication, cannot give consent. Kidnapping defense attorney, William Kroger, is ready to assess the use of this defense for your case today.
Force, Fear, or Fraud in Downey, CA
The use of force, fear, or fraud is closely related to consent when it comes to kidnapping. To be convicted, a prosecutor must show the use of force or fear in a simple kidnapping, or force, fear, or fraud in an aggravated kidnapping.
In this context, force means the use of actual physical force to accomplish the kidnapping. This can include grabbing, dragging, or carrying your victim against their will.
Fear means that you moved the victim using merely the fear of physical force, as opposed to actually using physical force. This includes kidnapping a person by holding them up with a knife or threatening them with violence.
Fraud is only an option in aggravated kidnapping cases and involves the use of deception to convince the alleged victim to come with you. Fraud is used in cases where minors are lured away from home or tricking a person into crossing state lines for an illegal purpose. Ultimately, if the victim only came with you because you tricked them, they didn't give real consent.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction for Kidnapping in Downey, CA
As discussed above, kidnapping is always considered a felony in Downey and anywhere else in Los Angeles. The potential penalties are steep, especially for aggravated kidnapping. Contact William S. Kroger to discuss the potential penalties you face with an experienced L.A. County criminal defense attorney.
Simple Kidnapping in Downey
A conviction for simple kidnapping carries a sentence of either three, five, or eight years in a California state prison. Additionally, a conviction carries a maximum fine of $10,000.
Aggravated Kidnapping in Downey
The maximum penalties for aggravated kidnapping are higher than simple kidnapping. A conviction for aggravated kidnapping carries a sentence of five, eight, or eleven years in California state prison. Additionally, you could face a maximum fine of $10,000.
The penalty for aggravated kidnapping can be increased to life in prison under certain circumstances including:
- You kidnapped the victim for ransom,
- You kidnapped the victim to collect a reward,
- You kidnapped the victim to blackmail them,
- You kidnapped the victim to rob them, or
- You kidnapped the victim to commit a sex crime.
Defense Strategies to Kidnapping Charges in Downey, California
There are several valid defenses your defense attorney can raise in order to prove your innocence. Below are some of the most common defenses used in a California kidnapping case.
Consent Defense to Kidnapping
You cannot be found guilty of kidnapping if your attorney can prove the alleged victim willingly came with you. As we discussed above, consent isn't valid if it was coerced or if the victim did not have the capacity to consent.
No Movement Defense to Kidnapping
Fundamentally, a kidnapping involves unlawfully moving a person a significant distance. It stands to reason that you cannot be convicted of kidnapping if you move an alleged victim an insignificant distance. It's worth noting that while this might be a valid defense against a kidnapping charge, you may still find yourself charged with a different crime if you meet the other kidnapping elements.
Citizen's Arrest Defense to Kidnapping
California law allows for a citizen's arrest. This means that average citizens can arrest and detain a person that committed a felony until the police arrive. A citizen's arrest is valid when you:
- Witness that person commit a felony,
- Have reason to believe that person committed a felony, or
- Know for certain that person committed a felony.
Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney is prepared to analyze the feasibility of a citizens arrest defense for your kidnapping charge.
Hiring a Downey Kidnapping Attorney You Can Rely On
In the most severe cases, a kidnapping conviction can cost you the rest of your life in prison. It's imperative that you contact an experienced Downey Kidnapping attorney to discuss your case immediately. For a free consultation, contact William S. Kroger Attorney at Law today.