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Kidnapping Defense

Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in San Diego, CA

Kidnapping is not an unknown charge. Kidnapping is any time a person forces another person to move from one place to another against their will. Many states notate that the distance must be substantial or meet circumstances. A kidnapping defense lawyer can help you understand the kidnapping charges placed against you. They can assist you in building a defense or ensure that your side of this story is heard in a fair environment. In some cases, an abduction defense lawyer can provide hope against serving jail time, paying substantial restitution fines or further criminal charges.

One example of a kidnapping charge that would carry further criminal charges is forcing another person to enter a building at gunpoint. This is not only kidnapping but now this person is possibly facing assault charges and a number of firearm charges depending on specific circumstances. However, the first charge that occurred in this instance was the kidnapping.

When to Hire a San Diego Kidnapping Defense Lawyer

Contact an abduction defense lawyer as soon as you know there are kidnapping charges pressed against you. This doesn’t mean that you are even the direct one who did the kidnapping. There are a few different avenues that lead to a charging a person with kidnapping.

Any person charged with kidnapping most likely physically moved the alleged victim. This is the most common form of kidnapping. An abduction defense lawyer is probably most prepared to handle this type of case. Moving an individual without their consent is the basic definition of kidnapping.

An alternate route that leads to needing a kidnapping defense lawyer is producing circumstances leading to an abduction. This includes child abductions. In many instances, the attempt of a child abduction can warrant criminal charges for kidnapping. This can occur by a family member, a friend, neighbor, or even a stranger.

The first step you should take regardless of the circumstances is to hire a kidnapping defense lawyer. This ensures that every step you take following is clear, concise, and aids your defense.

What’s the Difference Between Federal and State Kidnapping Laws?

Regardless of whether it is on the federal or state level, a kidnapping charge is a serious offense. Although the definition of the charge is as old as England’s Common Law it has seen many tweaks to modernize it. Originally it was aimed at moving persons between countries, however, as it was adapted for the United States there is less room for leeway. Instead, each state is free to set their own restrictions and definitions that apply to kidnapping or abduction. Be sure to consult with an abduction defense lawyer that is familiar with your state and knows the state’s restrictions.

States hold jurisdiction in most kidnapping cases. A kidnapping defense lawyer will help you understand the various degrees of kidnapping and how they apply to you. Many states list first degree, the most serious kidnapping offense based on a request for ransom, any additional physical or sexual crime, death, or financial extortion. Committing any of these in conjunction with kidnapping will place the crime in the highest degree of kidnapping. Kidnapping without any of these additional crimes present is second-degree kidnapping. However, either charge is a felony.

Federal regulations qualify any kidnapping as a felony offense. Typically, federal laws begin prison terms for kidnapping at 20 years. Then they take into account past criminal history and any accompanying crimes. Most often someone charged with kidnapping is facing other charges for physical or sexual crimes as well. Speak with your kidnapping defense lawyer to see how your charges work together and if there is any possibility of reducing any of them. Federal charges take over whenever a person or child is forcefully taken across state lines.

International Child Abductions

Over 80 countries have accepted the adoption of The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is a treaty which provides an expedited method for returning children to their home country. This is reserved only for international child abductions and it determines that the courts of the child’s home custody will have jurisdiction.

However, The Hague Convention focused on who has jurisdiction and then matters of custody. There is no indication of potential criminal punishment set out in The Hague Convention. Speak with your kidnapping defense lawyer about how this may apply to your charges. The custody case will be heard in the child’s home country, but every kidnapping case is unique leading to a special set of circumstances which often affect custody.

If you are facing international child abduction charges speak with your child abduction lawyer and ensure they are experienced in international law. Particularly international criminal law, and then discuss what opportunities are available to you in battling these charges.

The Amber Alert System

The United States developed an emergency broadcast system in 1996 because of Amber Hagerman’s abduction and murder. Since 1996 America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response or AMBER emergency broadcast system has changed how child abductions are handled by both police and the criminal justice system. All 50 states use the AMBER alert system to disrupt cell phones, as well as TV and radio broadcasts to reach a high volume of people with identifying information of the missing person. Although AMBER alerts are most commonly associated with child abductions they are in use for kidnapped adults as well.

Speak with your child abduction lawyer if you believe an AMBER alert is involved in your case. There are recorded instances of incorrect vehicles being pulled over in response to an AMBER alert. This can begin the defense for a mistaken identity defense.

Parent-Child Abductions

Parental abduction can result in a violation of a high volume of state and federal laws. It can include a number of state and federal employees as well. The best option in parental abductions is to work closely with a child abduction lawyer. They can help you throughout the court process and the custody battles that will ensue after these charges are resolved.

One major concern authorities have with child abductions is that they are regularly tied to domestic violence or other family issues. This can keep police officers at bat until it is too late, and a parent has abducted the child. If you are facing charges for a child abduction but are the child’s parent there are special circumstances here than in other cases. You can hire a private investigator to aid your child abduction lawyer throughout the investigation process.
Parental abductions are often resolved through custody arrangements or have the defense of compulsion or duress. The criminal court system can be very sympathetic towards parents who recently lost a significant amount of custody time. For newly divorced or separated parents the duress of not seeing their child regularly can cause many to pick them up from school unexpectedly.

Consequences of a Kidnapping Charge in San Diego, CA

Many people find themselves facing kidnapping charges after they take out their own kid, or worse, their grandchild. In these instances, a kidnapping lawyer can assist you in understanding why criminal charges are filed against you and what is needed to take the child out in the future. Usually, these allegations are made in the middle of terrible child custody battles.

But whether the force required to kidnap was simply picking up your grandchild, or using a gun to abduct an adult, the consequences are similar unless the kidnapping is “aggravated”. To consider a kidnapping as “aggravated” it needs one of the following instances:

  • Demand for ransom
  • Kidnapping resulted in the death
  • Kidnapping resulted in physical injury
  • The kidnapping was a result of a carjacking

You may notice these were also listed for a first-degree kidnapping offense. In the case of an aggravated kidnapping charge, an abduction attorney can explain to you the greater consequences that you may face.

First and foremost, kidnapping is a felony whether it is on a state, federal, or international level. It is also considered a violent felony. Although the acknowledgment of a violent felony doesn’t directly affect sentencing it will affect how you are viewed and which prison you go to during the court process. As a violent crime within the jail system, you are filed as a violent offender and anticipated to be a violent inmate.

Also because of the violent felony nature of the kidnapping charge, it will count as a strike under some state’s Three Strikes Law. This means that each violent felony offense will carry a greater punishment, and after three strikes result in life imprisonment. If you live in a state with these strike rules you should contact a kidnapping defense lawyer immediately. The sooner you have an abduction lawyer on the case, the more time you have to work on a solid defense.

Adjusted Child Custody

In a parental abduction, when the child is returned home the other parent will likely seek out immediate changes to an existing custody arrangement. Unlike other kidnapping cases, a child abduction lawyer can help you understand the differences and prepare for an immediate change in a custody arrangement.

If there was previously an agreed upon joint custody arrangement the other parent may seek to dissolve this and replace it with something more restrictive. A child abduction lawyer can help you explain in court that less time with the child will only be more difficult. However, if you are found guilty of kidnapping it is likely that you will at least temporarily lose custody and visitation rights.

This is because if an existing custody arrangement existed, then the event which led to the kidnapping charge is likely to have violated that custody order. It may seem that you are experiencing a double-hit because kidnapping and violating a child custody order can carry similar consequences.

Violating a child custody order can warrant a range of fines, loss of visitation, loss of custody, and jail time. In other words, you could see sentencing that includes jail time for kidnapping and sentencing which includes jail time for violating a child custody order.

Your Defense to a Kidnapping Charge

There is a handful of defense option available in battling a kidnapping charge. Speak with your kidnapping defense lawyer to understand which options are best for your case and how you could benefit from each.

Lack of Knowledge

Kidnapping is a commonly known crime so there is no use in attempting to defend your case with an abduction defense lawyer by saying that you didn’t know kidnapping was a crime. However, lack of knowledge is one of the most common defenses against kidnapping charges. Why?

It is easy for grandparents or parents to show a jury and judge that they believed they were acting within the authority of the law. Often times parents who are in the middle of child custody negotiations don’t understand they’re at risk of kidnapping allegations because the other parent can submit a missing child report and not say anything else about the matter until you are pulled over by police.

This is one of the few instances where ignorance is a reasonable defense. A child abduction lawyer can help you understand this option for your defense. I you find this is the best route for you be sure to resolve any custody matters in court and quickly when your kidnapping charges are resolved.

Compulsion or Duress

Using duress, compulsion, or coercion are all options in resolving your kidnapping charges. In a kidnapping prosecution, it is reasonable that you were under threat of another person to commit the crime. In general, child abduction lawyers see these defenses when the crime was committed under the threat of another person and they believed they were in danger. The belief that refusing to commit the crime would result in harm is common for kidnapping cases.

The use of duress as a defense is also available if there was firmness behind coercion which the defendant could not resist. This is often when the crime is committed at gun or knife point and there is the clear apprehension of death or severe harm.

Mental Incompetence – Insanity

The insanity defense is one judges are very familiar with. However, many parents can reasonably argue this and receive some sympathy. Discuss, at great length, with your child abduction lawyer first before you pursue mental incompetence as a defense.

This is a defense available in any criminal case. Because kidnapping is a criminal charge, you as the defendant have the opportunity to utilize mental incompetence or insanity as a defense. This does require you as the defendant to acknowledge that the crime did occur and that you did commit the alleged acts. After acknowledging the crime occurred you can submit a plea for insanity and that this would make you not guilty. You still have the right to a fair trial by jury and the right to due process.

You are required to submit evidence of insanity. A kidnapping defense lawyer can help you locate evinced for your insanity plea. Once the plea is submitted, the prosecution must now prove your sanity beyond a reasonable doubt for the kidnapping charges to override the insanity plea.

Victim Consented to Accompany the Defendant

This is part of a federal kidnapping statute that outlines if the victim consented to go with you. However, the difficulty in proving this defense is that you must show the victim consented prior to the allegation of kidnapping. Additionally, other crimes of kidnapping can still occur. If the victim is a child, the prosecution can argue that the child is not able to consent. The same is arguably for anyone who is mentally incompetent that they lack the ability to consent.

This is seen with adults who relocate their life without notifying their close friends or family members. They take the risk of moving, usually in the hope that they can start a new life without interruption or interference from close friends, ex-spouses, or unwanted ties to family. Typically, the friends or family target the person their loved one left with by pressing kidnapping charges. If this is your case or it sounds similar with the help of a kidnapping defense lawyer, you could have this issue resolved rather quickly. Focus on identifying evidence to support that the alleged victim initially consented to leave with you.

Contact a Kidnapping Defense Lawyer

Contact a kidnapping defense lawyer as early as possible after learning you are facing kidnapping or abduction charges. An abduction lawyer can assist you in understanding which defense options are available and what your best options are. They can also prepare you for the possible consequences of these charges while your case is ongoing.

Finding a child abduction lawyer who understands state and federal laws that apply to your case can give you the best edge on the prosecutor. These lawyers are working within the criminal justice system which means that ultimately a jury will determine your innocence. Work with the strongest evidence possible and with the strongest defense possible to protect yourself and your family. Call an experienced kidnapping defense lawyer at San Diego Criminal.