Kidnapping Defined by a Federal Defense Attorney

Kidnapping can lead to criminal charges brought against you by state authorities. In some cases, the federal government also becomes involved in prosecuting alleged kidnappers. This could mean an investigation by the FBI or other top federal law enforcement officials is conducted to obtain evidence against you and to put together a case against you.

Federal charges can be much more difficult to respond to because of the extent of the resources federal prosecutors have and because many defense lawyers do not have experience in federal courts.

Defendants who are under investigation for kidnapping or who have been charged with kidnapping need to understand what is at stake and should make certain to find an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge and skill necessary to fight for their rights.

LV Criminal Defense can provide the representation you are looking for. Our legal team has decades of collective experience representing clients in Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada, Oregon, and surrounding areas who have been charged with federal offenses. We know how to evaluate the prosecutor’s case, build a defense strategy, negotiate a plea deal, and otherwise take steps to reduce the likelihood of conviction or reduce the severity of penalties. Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team is committed to fighting for our clients and we will treat your case with the importance it deserves.

If you are accused of kidnapping or related federal offenses and you want an advocate on your side who will maximize the chances of the most favorable possible outcome in your particular case, you should reach out to our firm. Give us a call today to find out what our federal defense attorneys can do for you.

Federal Laws On Kidnapping

The federal penal code imposes harsh penalties for kidnapping, but those penalties can be applied only if a prosecutor proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 18 U.S. Code Chapter 55 defines the federal offense of kidnapping, explains what prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction for kidnapping, and establishes penalties when different types of kidnapping occur. The four relevant statutes related to kidnapping crimes that are found within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 55 include:

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  • 18 U.S. Code section 1201: Kidnapping
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1202: Ransom money
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1203: Hostage taking
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1204: International parental kidnapping

Kidnapping is defined in 18 U.S. Code section 1201 to include unlawfully seizing, confining, kidnapping, abducting, or carrying away and holding for reward any person. The offense is a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code section 1201 if the kidnapped person is willfully transported by the defendant in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the victim was dead or alive at the time of the kidnapping. If a defendant uses the mail by any means, or travels by interstate in foreign commerce to facilitate a kidnapping, the defendant can also be charged under section 1201.

If acts in furtherance of kidnapping are done in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, if the victim is a foreign official or internationally protected person, or the victim is one of the officers or employees identified in 18 U.S. Code section 1114, the defendant could also be charged with kidnapping under 18 U.S. Code section 1201.

Failure to release a victim within 24 hours after unlawfully carrying him away, confining him, abducting him or seizing him will create a reputable presumption that the victim has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

If multiple people conspire to violate federal kidnapping laws and any one person does something to further the conspiracy, anyone involved in the conspiracy can be punished with a period of up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted. Any attempt to violate federal kidnapping laws can also result in up to 20 years of imprisonment. If the victim is a child and the kidnapper is an adult who isn’t a close relative or someone with legal custody of the victim, then the mandatory minimum sentence imposed for violating 18 U.S. Code section 1114 is 20 years of imprisonment.

Other statutes within Chapter 55 also impose penalties on those involved with ransom money, as well as penalties for hostage taking. For example, under 18 U.S. code section 1202, receiving, possessing, or disposing of ransom money can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years as well as a fine. A defendant who has any proceeds of a kidnapping punishable in state law by imprisonment of a year or more who transfers or transmits any part of those proceeds using interstate or foreign commerce can also be imprisoned for 10 years under 18 U.S. Code section 1202.

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When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

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Because there are different things that must be proved to be convicted under each of the statutes in Chapter 55, it’s helpful for defendants to talk with an attorney to understand the specifics of the crime they’ve been charged with committing.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Don’t take kidnapping charges lightly and do not wait to respond if you have been accused of kidnapping, if federal investigators are questioning you, or if you have been charged. You could be looking at harsh penalties that could derail your life, and you need to work with federal criminal defense lawyers who can provide the help and support you need to implement a smart legal strategy during your involvement with the criminal justice system.

LV Criminal Defense has a team of legal professionals with decades of collective experience who can represent clients in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas. We will put our knowledge to work on your case to help you get the best outcomes possible.

We can advocate for you in court or outside of court through the negotiation of a plea deal, and our goal in every case is to choose the approach that will help you get the minimum penalties or avoid conviction and consequences. To find out more about how our firm can help you, give us a call today.