Everyone has a basic idea of what defines kidnapping thanks to so many movies and TV shows that depict abductions, but in real life, kidnapping is quite different from what you see on screen. If you have been charged with kidnapping, please call Solana Beach defense lawyer Peter M. Liss as soon as possible.
California law defines kidnapping as the transportation of a person without their consent through the use of force or fear, or the use of fraud in cases where the victim is under 14. In order to convict someone of kidnapping, this means the prosecution must show the victim was moved a substantial distance, that they didn’t consent to the movement and that they were made to move through the use of fear, force or, if the victim was under 14, fraud. These distinctions are critical, which is why you should refuse to speak to anyone but your University City defense attorney if you have been accused of kidnapping.
Something that seems like a small detail to you could make the difference in your case. For example, if you abducted a person from the street and officers found them in your house nearby, you might not meet the “substantial distance” requirement for a kidnapping charge. But if you tell police that you drove somewhere else with the alleged victim in the car before taking them to your home, you may end up providing them with evidence that you did transport them far enough away.
To make matters worse, it is surprisingly easy for kidnapping charges to turn into aggravated kidnapping charges, which are much more serious. If the victim was under 14, was seriously injured, abducted during a carjacking or if other laws were broken during a kidnapping, you may face aggravated kidnapping charges. The crime might also be aggravated if a ransom was made. Additionally, if you give police or prosecutors reason to believe you crossed state lines with the victim, the charge may become a federal crime, which means you will need to fight the charges in a federal court with a La Jolla federal crimes lawyer.
In California, kidnapping charges can result in sentences of up to eight years in prison, while aggravated kidnapping charges can result in life in prison without parole. Kidnapping also qualifies as a strike under the state’s three strike law, which means you will need to serve out 85% of your sentence before becoming eligible for parole and that if you get two more strikes on your record, you will be subject to life imprisonment. On the other hand, if your criminal lawyer in Clairemont can get the charges knocked down to false imprisonment, you will face a maximum of three years and possibly even be charged with a misdemeanor.
As you can tell, the right Encinitas defense lawyer can play a critical role in fighting kidnapping accusations against you. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.