Orange County Kidnapping Lawyer


Kidnapping is considered to be a serious crime in California. It is described in sections 207, 208, and 209 of the California Penal Code. Section 207 defines kidnapping as the act of using force or fear to steal, take, hold, detain, or arrest another person and remove that individual to another place. The following are three main elements to the crime of kidnapping.

1. The Use of Force or Fear

This element requires the actual use of physical force against the victim or the threat of such force being used. If an infant or child is taken without resistance, this element is satisfied by picking the child up and carrying him or her away. The use of fraud can also satisfy this element if the victim is under age 14.

2. Physical Control over the Victim

Pursuant to this element, the victim must be physically prevented from escaping. Under California law, this can be accomplished by "stealing, taking, holding, detaining, or arresting" the victim.

3. Movement of the Victim to Another Place

This element requires the victim to be moved, and the relocation of the individual must involve a significant distance. Whether the distance moved is significant depends on the actual distance moved as well as the nature of the movement. For instance, moving the victim a short distance may still constitute kidnapping if the movement was dangerous or harmful to the victim.

Possible Punishment

Kidnapping is a felony in California, and it is punishable by up to eight years of imprisonment under Penal Code section 208. Under section 208(b), kidnapping of a child under age 14 by someone other than a parent or other person with legal access rights to the child is punishable by up to 11 years of imprisonment. Under Penal Code 209, aggravated kidnapping, which includes kidnapping for ransom or with the intent of committing robbery or rape, carries a minimum five-year sentence and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. Kidnapping for ransom that results in the serious bodily harm or death of the victim is punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Common Defenses to Kidnapping Charges

The most common defenses to a kidnapping charge are:

  • Consent or a good faith belief that there was consent
  • The assertion that the victim was not moved a significant distance
  • False accusation
  • Mistaken identity
  • Failure to meet the elements of aggravated kidnapping

If You Have Been Charged with Kidnapping, Contact an Experienced Attorney

Kidnapping is a serious and complex crime. If you have been accused of this crime, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney will be able to analyze the facts of the case and determine whether and how any defenses can be applied. An attorney can also fight to make sure that you are not subjected to unfair punishment.

At the Law Offices of Scott D. Hughes, we have years of experience serving clients in these types of cases in Los Angeles and throughout Orange County. I am an assertive and professional litigator who has a proven track record of successfully representing criminal defendants. If you have been accused of kidnapping or would like more information, call 714-423-6928 today for a free consultation.

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