If you have been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment or any related offense, you could be facing significant felony criminal penalties, up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Fortunately, there are many defenses to these charges, and an experienced Los Angeles kidnapping and false imprisonment defense attorney can help you identify and assert those defenses.
Kidnapping: The Law
The California Penal Code defines kidnapping as the taking of another person by force or fear to another location of a sufficient distance (as defined by the Code). If the victim is a child, it is sufficient that the kidnapper used persuasion or trickery to move the child a sufficient distance for illegal purposes specified in the Code.
Any kidnapping offense under California Penal Code sections 207 through 210 is a felony offense, which may result in significant criminal penalties. The most serious kidnapping offenses may result in life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Our attorneys are committed to providing the strong defense you need. We can raise a number of defenses on your behalf if you have been charged with kidnapping, including:
- Consent: The alleged victim consented to be moved. (This defense may not be available if the victim was a child.)
- Lack of sufficient movement: The victim does not have to be moved a significant distance for the prosecution to meet its burden. In some cases, however, this defense may be possible.
- Mistaken identity: If you were not caught with the alleged victim, mistake of identity may be a potential defense.
- Lack of intent: If you are charged with kidnapping for the purpose of rape, for example, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to commit a rape.
- Protection of child: The Code states that it is not an offense to move a child under age 14 to protect him or her from danger of imminent harm.
- Lack of proof: The prosecution must prove every element of your alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
In addition to fighting your kidnapping charges at trial, we can also negotiate with the prosecution to seek a favorable plea agreement. A plea agreement might involve a plea to a lesser offense or an agreement on sentencing that will significantly reduce the penalties you face.
Any kidnapping offense under California Penal Code 207 is a felony offense and may result in a maximum prison sentence of three to eight years. The kidnapping of a child under age 14 may result in a maximum prison sentence of 11 years (subject to enhanced penalties under certain circumstances, as explained below).
If you are convicted of aggravated kidnapping, you could face a life sentence in state prison. Aggravated kidnapping includes:
- Kidnapping involving a ransom request
- Kidnapping for purpose of rape, robbery or another offense specified in the Code
- Kidnapping a victim during a carjacking (victim must be moved a sufficient distance)
Kidnapping involving a ransom request may result in a life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole if the victim suffers death or bodily harm (California Penal Code 209).
Contact a Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman, our criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of successfully defending clients against Los Angeles kidnapping charges. To protect your rights, contact us at 213-514-8324, at 213-514-8324 or by e-mail.
False Imprisonment: The Law
Restraining, confining or detaining a person without his or her consent is a criminal offense under California Penal Code 236. With the above elements satisfied, one is subject to a misdemeanor prosecution, but the charge can be upgraded to a felony if the imprisonment is effected by overt physical force, by threats of physical force, or by deception or fraud.
Unlike kidnapping, which requires the movement of the victim, false imprisonment can be confining someone or causing someone to believe he or she is confined to any location, whether small or large and regardless of whether it is locked or not. The key ingredient, which many charged with the crime are shocked to discover, is that the imprisonment need only last for a moment, like holding a door shut or telling someone that he or she cannot leave.
In the heat of the moment, during an argument or a breakup or a dispute over money, two people can act out of anger, frustration or desperation — and in that moment, it is easy to run afoul of one or more sections of the penal code. This can lead to arrest, confinement and conviction. Such charges often result in jail sentences, probation and fines and can have indirect consequences like the loss of a job, loss of child custody and deportation from the United States.
False Imprisonment: Defenses
There are a variety of defenses that may be applicable to your charged offense of false imprisonment. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The alleged imprisonment was in self-defense, in defense of third parties, or in an attempt to keep the victim from harming himself or herself.
- A third party coerced or threatened you, or you were otherwise under duress to imprison him or her.
- The imprisonment was consented to at the time it was effected.
- You are falsely accused, are falsely charged or were arrested improperly.
- You had a legal right to imprison the victim if you are the parent or legal guardian or have other legal authority over him or her.
False Imprisonment: Punishment
Punishment is dependent on both the level of the charge — misdemeanor or felony — and the specific circumstances of the incident, as well as any prior criminal record, including currently being on probation or parole.
On its own, a conviction for false imprisonment carries up to a year in the county jail when charged as a misdemeanor and up to three years in state prison when charged as a felony.
False Imprisonment: Related Charges
In California, false imprisonment may be charged in conjunction with several types of other criminal charges or be available as a negotiated plea bargain when stemming from circumstances like the following:
- Elder abuse (Penal Code 368)
- Carjacking (Penal Code 215)
- Kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking (Penal Code 209.5)
- Kidnapping (Penal Code 207)
- Hostage taking (Penal Code 210.5)
As with all experiences that lead to a negative interaction with law enforcement, it is important to never talk to the police. Be polite and indicate that on advice of counsel you will not speak to them without an attorney present.
Contact Our Los Angeles False Imprisonment Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with false imprisonment, you need an attorney who will explain the potential consequences, identify defense strategies, and aggressively protect your rights in court if necessary. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles false imprisonment defense attorneys, call 213-514-8324 or 213-514-8324 or contact us by e-mail.