kidnapping levelsSimply put, the answer is, it depends on a number of factors.

The most important being if the victim was taken against their will across state lines. If so, than the offender will be charged pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1201. Under 18 U.S.C. Section 1201, kidnapping is when a person unlawfully seizes, abducts, or carries away and holds another person for ransom or reward across state lines. Most importantly section 1201 mandates that failing to release a kidnapped victim within 24 hours creates an assumption they have been transported for reasons of interstate or foreign commerce.

Kidnapping is taken very seriously in Nevada. It can lead to a life sentence. Moreover, having a criminal record with a kidnapping conviction is a life-time red flag that may lead employers to not hire you. Section NRS 200.310 defines kidnapping as “a person who willfully seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away a person by any means whatsoever with the intent to hold or detain, or who holds or detains the person against their will.”

Kidnapping in Nevada is prosecuted as either first-degree kidnapping or second-degree kidnapping. What determines the difference between the two are specific factors of the case.

What are the degrees of kidnapping offense?

If sexual assault, ransom or robbery are involved, it is first-degree kidnapping. Most importantly, in a guardianship case, if the offender’s intent is to entice away the minor for purposes of an illegal act, this is considered first-degree kidnapping. A person cannot be convicted of both another offense and first-degree kidnapping if the actual movement of the victim was related to the specific offense, and the movement did not increase the risk of harm to the victim.

For example, temporarily bringing a person from a front office to a back office where a safe is located so the offender can rob a company might not qualify as kidnapping. To be sure, you really should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer who has experience with these types of cases.

Second-degree kidnapping happens when someone intentionally “seizes, inveigles, takes, carries away or kidnaps another person with the intent to keep the person secretly imprisoned within the State, or for the purpose of conveying the person out of the State without authority of law, or in any manner held to service or detained against the person’s will.” This seems straightforward on its face, but there are some caveats.

For example, when a person is charged with both second-degree kidnapping and another included offense in one case, the kidnapping charge will remain only if the offender moved the victim over and above the distance required to carry out the other crime. Otherwise, no minimum distance of movement is needed to prove a kidnapping charge. The fact the victim was moved at all is enough for the purposes of the law.