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Kidnapping Laws in California for 2024

Updated: Jan 2

A Beginner's Guide To California Penal Code 207

California's kidnapping law covers several acts involving forcibly transporting individuals. In media, kidnapping is often depicted as their absolute worst: taking someone, holding them against their will, and demanding ransom or causing them bodily harm.

However, California Penal Code 207 defines kidnapping more broadly. Therefore, the act doesn't have to be extreme to be charged as kidnapping in California.

That said, let's look at a quick intro to California's kidnapping law: how it's defined, how it's punished, and how California Kidnapping Defense Lawyers build a solid defense.

California's Kidnapping Law

How Is Kidnapping Defined In California Criminal Law?

Kidnapping is forcibly transporting a person a long distance. California's kidnapping law is violated when you move a person to a significant distance without permission, often by force or fear.

Using force or fear could include:

  • Harming the alleged victim physically

  • Threatening to cause immediate bodily harm

  • Kidnapping someone for sexual assault

  • Kidnapping someone and demanding ransom

  • Causing the alleged victim to sustain a severe physical injury or pass away

  • Kidnapping someone while a car is being stolen

Of course, the abovementioned examples aren't the only things that can qualify as acts of kidnapping. As long as the act fits the definition of kidnapping under California Penal Code 207, it can be charged as such. For example, a parent taking away their child somewhere else without the child's guardian's permission can already qualify as such.

Whatever the case may be, it's crucial to contact prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys to help you understand what the charges mean to you, how they can be handled, and how they can help you.

Legal Repercussions Of Violating California Penal Code 207

Kidnapping is a felony that carries a maximum eleven(11)-year sentence in state prison in California. The punishment for aggravated kidnapping is life in prison without the chance of parole.

Hence, contacting prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys is always best to make sure you build a strong defense against these charges.

California Kidnapping Defense Lawyers

What Are The Common Defenses Of California Penal Code 207?

In California, there are numerous ways to contest an accusation of "kidnapping." Some of the most common defense arguments are listed below:

1. The Accused Believed The Alleged Victim Consented

The accused is not convicted of kidnapping if they have a good reason to believe that the victim permitted the movement. This entails that the defendant genuinely believed that the alleged victim had said or made it seem like they consented, regardless of what the alleged victim honestly thought in the moment.

2. The Alleged Victim Consented To The Movement

The accused is acquitted of kidnapping if the victim genuinely agreed to the movement. This defense is successful if you and your California Kidnapping Defense Lawyers prove the following:

  • The other party gave their approval

  • Freely and voluntarily consented to follow or obey the defendant's instructions

  • The alleged victim was aware of the movement

  • The alleged victim had the maturity and wisdom to decide to support the defendant

If a person first agreed to go with the defendant, their consent ceased if they changed their minds and refused to be moved by or go with the defendant of their own volition. Therefore, if the offender kidnapped after the victim withdrew consent, this becomes kidnapping.

3. The Alleged Victim Was Not Moved A Significant Distance

The defendant's actions would not qualify as kidnapping if only a small, insignificant movement occurred. In the context of moving someone, the distance should be considered "substantial."

This means that moving someone across the street, asking them to walk a trivial distance away, or taking a child just outside the porch isn't going to fit the definition. However, some elements like using threats and force can still be considered attempted kidnapping, even if the victim hadn't been moved a substantial distance.

4. Defendant Is Wrongfully Charged Or There Aren't Enough Evidence

Unfortunately, false kidnapping charges are made to spite or punish another person. For example, a couple involved in a tenuous divorce and child custody dispute might accuse the other of kidnapping their child. These accusations are made without concrete evidence, which won't hold up in court.

While the above example is the most common one, people will wrongfully accuse someone of kidnapping for malicious reasons. This could happen to a former couple, a family member, or someone who works in the same company.

In other words, false accusations can happen to anyone, so defendants must hire prescreened California Criminal Defense Attorneys. A lawyer can conduct their own investigations, build a solid defense, and represent you in crucial steps related to the false charges.

California criminal defense attorneys

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