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
- kidnaps, or
- carries away
a person by any means whatsoever.”
Nevada Legal Definition of Kidnapping
The prosecutor must prove that the kidnapping was done on purpose, not unintentionally or by accident. Therefore, a lack of intent to confine, remove, or conceal a person is a defense to kidnapping in Nevada.
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.
Nevada 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.
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Punishments for Kidnapping in Nevada
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 Nevada. 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.
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.