Sometimes, kidnapping charges can be brought about by a misunderstanding by individuals or law enforcers. And in those instances, the accused knows too well that they had no criminal intentions, or in other circumstances, the victim’s presence was voluntary and not forced.
If the event does not tick all the boxes of the federal or state definition of kidnapping, the prosecution might not have a strong case against you. But it takes the expertise, knowledge, and experience of a Seattle criminal justice attorney to point out weaknesses in the case.
What Should I Know About My Kidnapping Charge?
You will be better equipped to successfully fight your kidnapping charges if you know the exact type of offense being brought against you. Washington State classifies kidnapping into two categories based on the circumstances relating to the incident.
Kidnapping in the first degree comes with the intention to:
- Interfere with a governmental function
- Inflict extreme mental distress on another person or on the victim
- Inflict bodily injury on the victim
- Escape after committing a felony
- Facilitate the commission of a felony
- Hold them hostage for ransom, or use them as a shield
- Fulfill a sexual motivation
The reasons for the kidnapping act in the second degree differ from what motivates the kidnapper in the first degree. But first-degree kidnapping is more serious than kidnapping in the second degree. Where applicable, a kidnapping lawyer in Seattle can negotiate for first-degree kidnapping charges to be reduced to the less serious second-degree kidnapping.
What Penalties Can I Face if I Lose in My Defense?
Whether you are convicted for kidnapping in the first or the second degree, the consequences in both are life-changing. And with a weak legal defense, you are highly likely to lose the case. Being a Class A felony, first-degree kidnapping is heavily punished. The convict might have to:
- Part with a fine of up to $50,000
- Serve up to life imprisonment
If the judge convicts you for second-degree kidnapping, your offense will be classified as a Class B felony. The penalties include:
- Fines of up to $20,000
- Up to 10 years in jail
These eventualities are avoidable if you make the right legal decisions, including working with a kidnapping lawyer in Seattle. The attorney will take the most appropriate defense approach to better the outcomes of your case.
Under What Circumstances is Kidnapping Charged as Domestic Violence?
The laws in Washington can be complex and confusing without the guidance of an experienced legal expert. It is worth noting that a kidnapping incident can be charged differently if it involved someone you are or were romantically involved with or someone with whom you share a family.
It could be:
- Child and parents
Notably, the penalties for domestic violence are not as harsh as that of kidnapping. This makes it critical to involve a kidnapping lawyer in Seattle as soon as you are arrested or charged so that they can use this as a defense strategy. It is easier to negotiate for reduced charges or dismissal during the early stages of the case.
Can I be Convicted for Allegedly Kidnapping My Own Child?
Most people don’t know that they have no right to take a child from the custodial parent, outside the days and hours stipulated in their visitation schedule. It is an offense, and the parent or relative can be charged with custodial interference in the first degree or the second degree.
Custodial interference in the first degree attracts fines of up to $10,000 and a jail term of up to 5 years. The Class C felony charges may apply if you:
- Took the child outside their home state
- Had intentions to remain with the child for a prolonged period or permanently
- Exposed the child to risks
Custodial interference is a gross misdemeanor if it is in the second degree. However, if it is a second or consequent offense, the court can treat it as a Class C felony. The charges apply when you:
- Detain a child
- Your intention was to deny the custodial parent access to the minor
- Kept the child for whichever period
The charges for custodial interference are not as severe as those for kidnapping. So, if the circumstances fit the former charge, but you have been charged with the latter, a skilled kidnapping attorney in Seattle can help.
What’s the Difference Between Kidnapping and Unlawful Imprisonment?
Kidnapping and unlawful/false kidnapping are quite similar, and the law enforcers can easily charge you for one instead of the other. In both cases, the victim is usually restrained against their will. But in unlawful imprisonment, you don’t need to have moved the victim from their place of residence.
You might have simply detained them in their own home against their will. The penalties for unlawful imprisonment are up to 5 years, and the fine is up to $10,000 – less punitive than kidnapping.
What are the Possible Defenses for Kidnapping?
You can defend yourself against the charge of kidnapping in several ways. And with the right attorney, it is easy to win the case and secure your freedom. You need first to explain the facts of your case for the attorney to build up the best defense that can guarantee the best possible outcome.
Here are the commonly used defenses:
- The evidence against you is inadmissible
- There is no evidence that you were the kidnapper
- There is no evidence that the kidnapping took place
- The person gave consent to be moved
- No kidnapping actually took place
Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Accused’s Rights in Seattle
If you have been accused of kidnapping an adult or a child in Seattle, WA, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can thoroughly investigate your case. At The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold, PLLC, we are skilled in using the information to line up a defense for you and battle the charges.
Kidnapping is a serious crime that can be aggravated and lead to harsher criminal penalties. Don’t gamble with your freedom. Get a skilled defense to fight for you. Reach us today for specialized defense. Call (206) 382-9200 to talk to our dedicated Seattle criminal justice attorney.