Federal Kidnapping Lawyer
Are you facing Federal Kidnapping charges in Florida? Kidnapping may lead to criminal charges brought against you by the state or federal authorities. If you’re under investigation for kidnapping or have been charged with kidnapping, you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge and skills needed to fight for your rights. Call us now!
What is Kidnapping?
State charges of kidnapping takes place when someone is taken by force or fear to another location. Federal kidnapping on the other hand, takes place when the kidnapper takes the victim across state lines or the if the victim was held for over 24 hours. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1201(b) if the defendant fails to release the victim within 24 hours after they are illegally detained, confined, or kidnapped there is a rebuttable presumption that the person has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce which is a condition under federal kidnapping. Therefore, even if the defendant did not take the victim across state line he or she may be charge under federal law if the victim is not release within 24 hours.
Federal offenses are prosecuted more aggressively than state crimes. The conditions of each situation have an impact on the nature of the charges and the likelihood of a conviction. The penalties for committing federal kidnapping are very serious, the sentence starts from 20 years to life in prison. If during the kidnapping, there was a dangerous weapon involved or a request for payment in order to return the victim, the sentencing can be even longer. There is a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence if the victim of a kidnapping is under 18 years old, and the defendant is not a relative.
To prove the charges of kidnapping, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant used force or threat of force to abduct or imprison another person against their will; or that the defendant held the victim for a reward, or used the victim as a shield or hostage.
Can You Kidnap Your Own Child?
If a parent is accused and charge of kidnapping their child, they will fall under the Title 18, section 1204 of the United States Code, which states that it’s unlawful for a parent to remove a child from the custody of the other parent without obtaining the other parent’s consent. The penalty for committing this offense is significantly less than the standard kidnapping, in such cases the sentence is around 3 years. However, such distinction is not applied to a parent that has had their legal parental rights terminated.
How Can You Fight Kidnapping Charges?
When charged with kidnapping, it’s important to remember that a charge does not always lead to a conviction. It is possible to fight kidnapping charges with the help of an experienced defense attorney. There are a couple of different defense strategies that can be used to fight such charges. Some examples of defense strategies may include a defense such as:
- Mistaken identity: The defendant may argue they were mistaken for someone else by the witness or victim who identified him or her.
- Misunderstanding: The defendant may argue they believed they had the authority to take the victim or that the victim consented to going with the defendant.
- No aggravating circumstances: The attorney may be able to get the state to lower the charges by showing that no aggravating circumstances were present.
- Lack of intent: The attorney could fight to show the defendant did not have the intent necessary to commit kidnapping in the state of Florida, which means the defendant should be charged with false imprisonment rather than kidnapping. This would significantly lower the charges from a first-degree felony to a third-degree felony.
In cases of kidnapping, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor meaning it is up to the state to prove the defendant is guilty of kidnapping beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight your case.
The penalties for federal kidnapping conviction can be hefty–but they’re avoidable.
Here at Smith & Eulo Law Firm: Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have a team of certified attorneys in both state and federal courts that can help you!
Call Smith & Eulo Law Firm at 407-930-8912 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7 to discuss all the options. Even if you were convicted of a crime, it may be possible to have your record sealed or expunged.