Kidnapping is a term that most of us are familiar with, whether through pop culture or everyday usage. Many of us, however, are unaware of the technical and legal definition of abduction. Kidnapping happens in California when someone holds, detains, or arrests another person in California and forces or threatens to transport that person to another country, state, county, or section of the same county.
This is probably what you think of when you see a child kidnapped from the street and brought somewhere else in a movie — kidnapping! However, in many circumstances, we are actually thinking about aggravated kidnapping, a higher level of criminality. Keep reading to learn more and then contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to request a consultation if you have been charged with this or another serious felony.
Circumstances that lead to an aggravated kidnapping charge
Aggravated is a phrase used in criminal law that simply implies something is more serious. When any of the following circumstances are present, kidnapping becomes “aggravated”: it was done for ransom, reward, or extortion; the victim was severely injured or killed; it happened during a carjacking; It was done for robbery, rape, or similar sexual felony on a victim under the age of 14 using fraud, force, or fear.
When you combine these factors, it’s clear that what we think of as “kidnapping” from television, movies, and books is most likely aggravated kidnapping under California law.
The difference between kidnapping and kidnapping is substantial
The distinction between the two categories of this offense is significant, especially in terms of sentence. A person convicted of aggravated kidnapping could spend the rest of their life in jail, depending on the details of the case.
Aggravated kidnapping’s maximum punishment depends on the specifics of the case. If a defendant is charged with abduction for ransom and the victim dies or is injured, he will be sentenced to life in a California state prison without the possibility of release. If there is no death or physical harm, the criminal faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
If an accused is found guilty of kidnapping for the purpose of committing a crime, he will be sentenced to life in a California state prison without the chance of release.
Aggravated kidnapping counts as a strike
For the purposes of California’s three strikes rule, any aggravated kidnapping conviction will be considered a strike. This is critical because it means that any subsequent strikes — or another felony conviction — will result in increased punishment.
Based on the facts of the case, there are several plausible defenses to a change of kidnapping. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in properly investigating the case and developing a solid legal and factual defense.
We have extensive expertise representing people accused of a variety of crimes, including kidnapping, at the Chambers Law Firm. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call 714-760-4088 or email email@example.com.