Kidnapping is the criminal offense of abducting, imprisoning, or confining an individual against his or her will. An individual of any age or gender can be kidnapped, but the charge and its penalties can be different if the victim is under the age of 13 and additional offenses against the child, such as exploitation or aggravated child abuse, occurred versus an adult victim.
Kidnapping is a serious criminal offense that can have steep penalties for an individual found guilty. If you have been charged with kidnapping, you need to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to give yourself the best possible chance of having your charge lowered or dropped.
What Constitutes Kidnapping?
Under Florida law, confining, imprisoning, or abducting an individual for one or more of the following purposes may be charged as kidnapping:
- To commit or aid in the commission of a felony;
- To hold as a hostage or use as a human shield;
- To inflict bodily harm upon the victim or to terrorize him or her or another individual; or
- To interfere with a political or governmental function.
For a defendant to be convicted of kidnapping, the court must prove that he or she held the victim against the victim’s will and that the defendant did not have the legal authority to do so. If the victim was under 13, the court must prove that the defendant did not have permission from the victim’s parent or legal guardian to keep him or her.
Penalties for a Kidnapping Conviction in Florida
Kidnapping is a first degree felony. Individuals convicted of this offense may be sentenced to life in prison. He or she can also face a fine of up to $10,000. If the individual is a “habitual offender” meaning that he or she has been convicted of two or more felonies or other qualified offenses in the past, this will be considered during his or her sentencing.
Possible Defenses to a Kidnapping Charge
One possible defense to a kidnapping charge is that the alleged victim consented to being taken, held, or confined by the defendant. Another is that the defendant did not intend to abduct, imprison, or confined the victim without his or her consent.
A lack of evidence proving that the defendant committed the crime can be part of a legal defense strategy against any criminal charge. Similarly, a violation of the defendant’s civil rights can also be part of his or her defense strategy and could cause certain pieces of evidence to be discarded.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney
Kidnapping is a serious criminal offense, especially if it involved a child. If you have been charged with kidnapping, it is critical to your future liberty that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you get your charge lowered or dismissed. To learn more, contact our team at All Criminal Defense Law Group, P.A. at 813-672-1900 today to set up your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm.