Kidnapping is the unlawful taking or transporting of a person against that person’s will. This may be done for ransom, to further another crime, or in connection with a child custody or other domestic dispute. In abduction cases, defendants who take an alleged victim across a state line could be charged with a violation of federal criminal law. Sometimes, however, a “kidnapping” is a simple misunderstanding with no criminal intention involved. If you’re accused of abducting, you may have genuinely believed that the alleged victim was joining you voluntarily. In some cases, kidnapping accusations are entirely made up and only later debunked by a good defense attorney. If you are charged with kidnapping in or near Seattle, you’ll need a good defense attorney too – experienced Seattle kidnapping attorney Kevin Trombold.
Before understanding the different degrees of abducting, you must understand the definitions of the words that make up the abducting laws.
“Abduct” means to restrain a person by either a) secreting or hiding the person in a place where he is unlikely to be found by anyone else or b) using deadly force or threatening to do so.
“Relative” means an ancestor, descendant, sibling, including relatives through marriage or adoption.
“Restrain” means to limit a person’s movement without that person’s consent or legal authority to do so. Restraint is considered to be without consent if it is done by force or the threat of force. It is also considered without consent if the victim, who is under 16 years of age or an incompetent person, reluctantly gives in.
DEGREES OF KIDNAPPING
In the criminal legal system, few criminal charges are considered more serious than kidnapping. The state of Washington recognizes two degrees of kidnapping. Both are felonies.
Kidnapping in the first degree is considered a Class A felony punishable by a life sentence in a Washington state prison. You may be found guilty of kidnapping in the first degree if you intentionally abduct another person with the intent of:
Holding that person for ransom or reward or using the person as a shield or hostage; or
Inflict bodily injury on the person that you have kidnapped; or
Facilitate commission of any felony or flight; or
Inflict extreme mental distress on the person that has been kidnapped or a third party as a result of the kidnapping; or
Interfere or interrupt the performance of any government function
Kidnapping in the second degree is considered a Class B felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If your kidnapping crime was sexually motivated, your charges may be increased and the crime may be considered a class A felony. You may receive a charge with kidnapping in the second degree if you intentionally abduct another person, but your crime does not match any of the guidelines mentioned above that define kidnapping in the first degree. However, you cannot be charged with kidnapping in the second degree if:
The abduction did not include the use of force or the threat to use force; and
The accused is a relative of the person who was abducted; and
The accused’s sole intention was to assume custody of the person who was abducted.
If these three conditions are met, then kidnapping in the second degree charges are not relevant to your case.
In Washington, kidnapping can also be charged as a domestic violence charge, depending on the relationship between the people involved in the crime. For example, if you are accused of kidnapping a stranger, this would not be considered domestic violence. However, if you are accused of kidnapping your significant other or a family member, this could be considered a domestic violence crime.
Unlawful imprisonment is closely associated with abducting. This crime is committed when you knowingly restrain another person against his or her will. Unlawful imprisonment is known as a class C felony and if you receive conviction, you could face harsh consequences.
Around the Seattle area, you could be accused of abducting, you’re going to need experienced legal help immediately. With over 20 years, knowledgeable Seattle abducting attorney Kevin Trombold has represented clients around Seattle-area who are charged with abducting and other serious felony charges. Criminal defense attorney Kevin Trombold provides vigorous representation and will aggressively challenge the state’s evidence and witnesses in your defense.
Many parents are unaware that taking their own children could be charged as kidnapping in certain situations. “Custodial interference” is charged when a parent or other relative takes a child away from the person who has custody over that child. This crime can even apply to biological parents if they are not the parent who is supposed to have custody at that time.
Custodial interference in the first degree is committed if you intended to hold the child for an extended period of time, exposed the child to risk or took the child out of state. This crime is known as a felony and is punishable by a $10,000 fine, and up to five years in prison.
Custodial interference in the second degree is committed if you hold a child with the intent of denying access to the parent who has lawful custody over that child. This crime is a gross misdemeanor for the first offense, but a felony for any offense after that.
If you have received a charge with custodial interference, call an experienced Seattle kidnapping lawyer promptly.
GET THE RIGHT HELP FAST
A criminal charge of abducting can ruin your life if you don’t get the correct help fast from the proper criminal defense lawyer. Our team will help you get to the bottom of your case with the most ideal outcome. Our firm is respected by judges, peers, and prosecutors around the Seattle area. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation at 206-382-9200.