Even without a conviction, a charge of kidnapping has the power to destroy a person’s life. While there are other criminal charges that can ostracize a person, the charge of kidnapping carries a stigma that is matched by few others. It is common for a community to make up its mind about the person’s guilt before the trial even begins. Kidnapping charge may often be accompanied with other charges such as sexual abuse.
Few criminal charges carry the same social stigma as a kidnapping charge, particularly those involving a child. Depending on the circumstances of the kidnapping charges, the accused individual may be subject to public ridicule if charged, as well as jail sentences that range from a few years to a lifetime if convicted. A kidnapping charge alone without a conviction may be enough to ruin an individual’s home life, career and reputation.
When an individual is charged with kidnapping, they can expect a number of things to happen legally as well as socially. Although the United States legal system relies on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty, the public view of a kidnapping charge may have the opposite motto; guilty until proven innocent.
While some people accused of kidnapping will be declared innocent, they may be marked as guilty in the eyes of society forever. The same is true in a child molestation case as well, and sometimes the two seem interchangeable since child kidnappings by strangers often involve sexual abuse.
Kidnapping is defined as using force, lies, or fear to steal or hold an individual captive. Legally, someone who is facing a kidnapping charge should prepare themselves for an uphill battle. Any type of kidnapping is considered to be a felony and the prosecution of such a case will be very harsh.
Few people have any sympathy for kidnappers, especially those who are accused of committing acquaintance or stranger kidnapping. Because of this, it may be hard for the individual facing kidnapping charges to receive a fair trial. If convicted, one may have to register as a sexual offender.
Although state laws do vary, a typical kidnapping charge conviction is a three to eight year prison term with an average of 11 years in prison for kidnapping a minor. Anyone convicted of kidnapping someone to financially extort the victim, sexually abuse them, or physically abuse them can face life in prison.
It is generally agreed that an individual who is convicted on kidnapping charges with a child, especially for reasons such as sexual abuse, deserves a harsh prison sentence. However, when the legal lines become blurry, the individual charged can be subject to legal and social repercussions that may be considered unfair.
A minor is one considered to be 17 or under and a legal adult is over the age of 18. Technically, a 18 year old can be faced with kidnapping charges for consorting with a 17 year old and having sexual relations, even with consent.
There are many different types of kidnapping charges. A person can be charged with kidnapping if they are accused of physically moving another individual without consent. In the case of child abduction, even attempted child abduction, there may be more circumstances that constitute the kidnapping of a child. A child can be kidnapped by a family member or stranger.
The kidnapping law in the United States was generally based on England’s Common Law and was defined as illegal and non-consensual moving of an individual between countries. The law was renovated in the 19th and 20th centuries when the definition of kidnapping was redefined by removing the location requirements.
While any kidnapping charge is a serious one, kidnapping a child brings very dire social and legal issues. Kidnapping law requires that any kidnapping conviction be severely punished, mainly because of the impact on the victim and their family. It is also common for someone convicted of child abduction or attempted child abduction to be convicted for other things as well, such as sexual or physical crimes.
First degree kidnapping is the most serious offense under kidnapping law. States usually consider a kidnapping to fall under this category depending on what the purpose of the kidnapping was, as well as the length of time the person was held.
Anything involving financial extortion such as ransom, sexual or physical assault and death will result in a charge of first degree kidnapping. Second degree kidnapping is generally defined under kidnapping law as the kidnapping itself, without the intentions or acts of any of the criminal acts in first degree kidnapping. Both are felonies.
Attempted child abduction is a very serious crime and one that is treated of the highest importance by police officials. Anyone charged with attempted child abduction, due to the nature of the possible crimes that could have been committed, can be convicted of felony attempted child abduction charges.