Kidnapping is another very serious crime with severe penalties. By law, kidnapping is defined as taking a person from one place to another against their will or additionally confining someone to a controlled space against their will.
Kidnapping is considered a felony according to federal law 18 U.S.C. § 1021 and carries a maximum penalty of up to twenty years in prison if convicted. This depends on any prior convictions as well as the severity of the kidnapping crime and what took place.
If a parent kidnaps their own child and takes them out of the country, that is covered under a different federal law.
Unless the kidnapping crosses state lines, most kidnapping cases are processed within the state or district courts. If crossing states is a factor, then the federal government will get involved, and it becomes a federal crime.
International child abduction is becoming a more common crime happening in America. Because of this, more than eighty countries have adopted the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction treaty to work together to return stolen children to their homes and bring justice upon the criminals perpetrating it.
The United States as instituted an Amber alert system which broadcasts information amongst a variety of media outlets to alert the public to a missing person so they can aid authorities by providing information if they witness anything related to the case. This system has been quite successful in helping return at least 800 children kidnapped since 2015.
Defenses Used in Kidnapping Cases
There are wide variety of defense moves used in kidnapping cases. Some of the more creative legal defenses which have been used are:
- The accused claims that the victim consented to be taken.
- The person who kidnapped did not use deadly force.
- Ignorance, they didn’t know it was illegal.
- Being a relative of the victim so, therefore, is allowable.
- The insanity plea or use of mental illness as the reason.
Kidnapping is considered a very serious offense due to the harm inflicted upon another human being and their right to freedom being impinged.