Las Vegas Kidnapping Lawyer: Laws and Charges in Nevada
What is kidnapping? Kidnapping does not have to do with the distance a person is moved or forced to move against his or her will. Instead, the simple fact that a live person is confined to a certain space and is not allowed to leave means that they have been kidnapped. The law states that kidnapping is done by “a person who willfully seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps, or carries away a person by any means whatsoever.”
This means a prosecutor can charge you with a kidnapping offense without specifically proving the means by which you kidnapped someone. The prosecutor’s case against you could be successful if the prosecutor can prove that you willfully seized, confined, or enticed a victim through some method or means.
Because there are so many different behaviors that could lead to kidnapping charges, it is imperative you have an attorney who is well-versed in her rules for what constitutes kidnapping and who is experienced in developing the most appropriate methods of building a defense.
LV Criminal Defense is a team of Nevada kidnapping lawyers who will provide the representation you need – these charges could change your life. Give us a call today to learn more.
Nevada Legal Definition of Kidnapping
Nevada defines the offense of kidnapping in Chapter 200 of Title 15, which deals with crimes against the person. There is an entire subsection of crimes related to kidnapping, which includes Nevada Revised Statute section 200.310 through NRS 200.359.
Under the relevant laws, both prosecutors and defendants have different things to prove in court. Prosecutors want to prove that the kidnapping was done on purpose, not unintentionally or by accident. A lack of intent to confine, remove, or conceal a person is a defense to kidnapping in Nevada, so if a prosecutor cannot meet this burden of proof, that defendant should be acquitted.
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There is not just one type of charge prosecutors can bring against a defendant accused of wrongdoing. There are two degrees of kidnapping that carry different punishments.
The punishments depend on the purpose of the kidnapping and the status of the kidnapped person. If a deadly weapon is involved (even a toy gun the victim believes is real or a kitchen knife), the sentence can be enhanced by 1 to 20 years, and probation is very unlikely.
Faking a Kidnapping
Because Nevada law prohibits intentionally confining a person to a space and prohibiting him from leaving that space, a defendant can be charged with kidnapping only when someone has actually been confined.
However, there are situations where individuals claim to have kidnapped a victim, despite not actually having done so. The goal is to recoup money for the “kidnapped” family member’s safe return. However, the person asking for funds to keep the “kidnapped victim” safe typically does not actually have access to the missing family member but is instead only claiming to.
When an individual is caught claiming to a loved one was kidnapped to extort money, the individual who was perpetrating the fraud could be charged with an attempt offense and could face harsh consequences.
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However, unless the accused defendant’s actions involve actually confining a person, concealing a person, or carrying away a person, the crime will usually not be considered a kidnapping under Nevada’s law.
While faking a kidnapping may not lead to charges for kidnapping, attempting and failing to kidnap a victim in Las Vegas could lead to serious consequences.
If a defendant intended to hold someone against his will without lawful authority, this may be sufficient for a prosecutor to secure a conviction for attempted kidnapping.
However, the key is for a prosecutor to prove a defendant’s plans and that the defendant took overt action in moving towards carrying out those plans.
LV Criminal Defense can provide assistance in making an argument as to why your conduct does not provide sufficient proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you were trying to carry out a kidnapping.
Degrees of Kidnapping in Las Vegas
Whenever any defendant is charged with kidnapping or a related offense, the potential penalties that are imposed could include:
- A lengthy prison sentence
- A felony criminal record
- Community service
- A substantial fine
In most kidnapping cases, the charge is a felony so the rest of your life will be impacted by a history of this felony offense. Conviction also means a prison sentence, in the vast majority of situations. Bottom line: this sentence could be for decades or even for life in prison.
The specific consequences you could face if you are convicted will depend upon whether you are facing state or federal charges. If you are charged in Nevada, the degree of the offense also plays a key role in determining the penalties.
There are two primary degrees of kidnapping – first and second degree – and factors such as the motivation behind the kidnapping, the reason for the kidnapping, and details about the victim(s) will determine which charges you face.
First Degree Kidnapping
If a kidnapping is done for a ransom, or to commit a crime like sexual assault, robbery, extortion, battery, or murder on the person kidnapped, the requirements for a crime of kidnapping in the first degree are met.
Also, a person who takes away or lures a minor child for the purpose of keeping the child away from his or her family, or to enslave the child, or to engage in an illegal act with the minor, is also guilty of first degree kidnapping. First degree kidnapping is a Category A felony in Las Vegas. The punishment depends on whether the person suffered serious bodily harm in the process.
If the kidnapped person suffered substantial bodily harm, the penalty can be life without the possibility of parole, or if lesser sentences are given, parole after 15 years served in a Nevada prison. If the abducted person did not suffer substantial bodily harm, the sentence can be lowered to 15 years with the possibility of parole after serving 5 years.
Second Degree Kidnapping
Second degree kidnapping is kidnapping for the purpose of secretly imprisoning a person in Nevada, or taking the person out of state without legal authority to do so, or holding a person to perform involuntary service. Kidnapping in the second degree is a Category B felony, punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Child Kidnapping in Nevada
A person who does not have full custody of a child yet removes the child from the jurisdiction, or conceals the child’s location in violation of a custody or protective order, can be charged with a Category D felony punishable by 1 to 4 years and fines up to $5,000. This is called parental kidnapping.
Federal Kidnapping Laws
Certain kidnapping is also a federal crime, which has separate requirements and longer sentences. For example, taking an adult across state lines, or a child under the age of 18 by a person without a family relationship or any custody rights, can violate federal law. If the abducted person dies in the process of the kidnapping across state lines, a life sentence can be imposed. For a child abduction, a minimum sentence of 20 years is imposed by federal law.
Penalties for Kidnapping
Because of the severity of the penalties for kidnapping, getting legal help right away is essential. LV Criminal defense can help you to try to avoid conviction, as once you are convicted, harsh penalties are an inevitability. An experienced attorney can also provide assistance in negotiating a plea agreement to reduce the consequences in exchange for you admitting guilt.
Las Vegas, NV Kidnapping Defenses
In addition to a lack of intent, if a person over the age of 18 consented to the movement or confinement of his or her own free will, then there has not been a kidnapping.
In cases where the person was not moved, but simply confined, there is a possibility of reducing the charges to false imprisonment, a lesser crime.
In cases with more serious crimes involved such as robbery, the kidnapping charge may not necessarily also be brought if the confinement or restraint of the victim of the violent crime was not more than necessary to commit the other crime.
Resources on Kidnapping in Las Vegas
FBI – Kidnap
1787 W Lake Mead Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89106
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