Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney
Facing kidnapping charges?
Kidnapping occurs when a person takes, holds, or detains another person
by force or fear and moves that person to another place against his or
her will. Kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes for which you or
a loved one may be charged in California. It counts as a "Strike"
under the California Three Strikes Law and conviction can lead to life
in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Prosecutors take these
cases very seriously and people who have been charged should take their
defense just as seriously.
If you have been charged with or are under investigation for kidnapping,
you must speak to an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at
our firm before answering any questions from law enforcement. They are
not on your side and the responses you provide to their questions may
lead to your future conviction! Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners
to learn about the criminal justice system and the legal options available to you.
Kidnapping Law in California
California kidnapping laws are primarily contained in Penal Code Sections
207, 208, 209, 209.5 and 278. Each Code section refers to a different
type of kidnapping. For example:
- Simple Kidnapping (Penal Code 207) is defined as forcibly or by any other
means of instilling fear, stealing or taking or holding, detaining or
arresting any person and carrying the person into another county, state
or country or into another part of the same county. Simple kidnapping
is a felony.
Aggravated Kidnapping (Penal Code 209) can refer to a number of different
kidnapping situations, including kidnapping for ransom, reward or extortion;
and kidnapping to commit a
sex crime or
robbery. Aggravated kidnapping is a felony.
- Kidnapping During a Carjacking (Penal Code 209.5) can be charged when a
person is kidnapped during the commission of a carjacking and in order
to facilitate the carjacking. Kidnapping during a carjacking is a felony.
Extortion by Posing as a Kidnapper (Penal Code 210) can be charged when
a person pretends to be a kidnapper or pretends to have some ability to
obtain the release of a kidnapped person for the purpose of extorting
money or something else of value.
Extortion by posing as a kidnapper is a felony.
Parental Kidnapping (Penal Code 278) can be charged when a person, not
having a right to custody, maliciously takes, entices away, keeps, withholds,
or conceals any child with the intent to detain or conceal that child
from a lawful custodian. Parental kidnappings are "wobbler"
crimes, meaning they can be charged as either
Under the Kidnapping law, force is defined as the actual use of physical
force or threat of imminent physical harm. Fear does not necessarily mean
being afraid. It is the state of mind where the victim reasonably believes
that if he or she does not comply with the suspect's demands, the
victim will suffer some physical harm. Movement under the law refers to
"substantial" as opposed to trivial or slight movement. There
is no specific distance required for kidnapping. The movement must be
The severity of penalties associated with kidnapping convictions vary depending
on the circumstances. In most cases, kidnapping is a "Strike"
Three Strikes Law, as well as a violent felony. Therefore, the defendant must serve
at least 85% of the sentence before being eligible for release. If the
defendant is subsequently charged with any felony, the sentence for that
new offense will be doubled as a result of the prior kidnapping Strike
conviction. After two Strikes, a third felony conviction, or Strike, could
result in a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.
Following are specific penalties for kidnapping convictions:
- Simple Kidnapping is punishable by three (3), five (5) or eight (8) years
in state prison. If the victim is under fourteen (14) years of age at
the time of the crime, the kidnapping is punishable by five (5), eight
(8) or eleven (11) years in state prison.
- Aggravated Kidnapping (ransom/reward/robbery/extortion) is punishable by
life in state prison with the possibility of parole. If the victim suffers
bodily harm or death as a result of kidnapping, then the punishment is
life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP).
- Extortion by Posing as a Kidnapper is punishable by two (2), three (3)
or four (4) years in state prison.
- Kidnapping During Carjacking is punishable by imprisonment in state prison
for life with the possibility of parole.
- Parental Kidnapping (child stealing) is punishable by imprisonment in a
county jail not exceeding one (1) year or if charged as a felony, by imprisonment
in state prison for two (2), three (3) or four (4) years.
Many defenses are often possible in kidnapping cases; the most commonly
used are defenses of Consent and Lack of Intent. The burden is on the
prosecutor to prove that the victim did not consent and that the defendant
intended to move or take the victim even though consent was not given.
If the prosecution cannot prove these facts beyond a reasonable doubt,
then the defendant is not guilty of kidnapping. Other defenses that can
be used include:
- Insufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of physical evidence
- Showing that the person is legally entrusted with the custody of the kidnapped person
- Proving that parents separated without a legal decree. If so, one may take
a child from the other, even by deception or trickery, without committing
Kidnapping Lawyer in Los Angeles
Attorneys at our firm, with a combined experience of 70 years, understand
the criminal justice system very well and the strategy employed by the
prosecutors to obtain a conviction. If there are any errors in their case
against you, we will do all that is possible to expose the mistakes and
turn them to your advantage. Our first objective is to discover all of
the facts that could be used in the dismissal of kidnapping charges against
you. Failing that, and if the prosecutor's case is strong, we may
be able to negotiate a plea bargain to get the kidnapping charge reduced
to a less serious charge.
Here are a dozen reasons why you should contact our firm to assist in your
- Your defense begins the minute you hire us
- We are serious and aggressive lawyers
- We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- We know what it will take to successfully represent you and we have the
resources to do it
- California criminal law changes constantly and we focus exclusively on
- We work hard for our clients
- We are in court daily interacting with prosecutors & judges, ardently
advocating for our clients
- We focus on the presumption of innocence of our clients
- We can discuss bail options and/or release of accused clients on their
- We defend our clients as if we ourselves were being charged
- We are not scared to go to trial to obtain a "Not Guilty" verdict.
Being accused of kidnapping is a serious charge that can result in a lengthy
prison sentence. Kidnapping charges require skilled and aggressive criminal
defense attorneys who can get results. We focus entirely on criminal defense
and employ meticulous preparation, thorough investigation and an overall
forceful approach to defending our clients. Let us take charge and fight
for your rights!
To work with a criminal defense team who will stand up for you,
contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney today.