Defense for Federal Kidnapping Charges
Whether you’ve been formally charged with kidnapping or you know that you’re a person of interest in a kidnapping, you need to seek immediate representation. Kidnapping is always a felony charge in the state of Florida, and you could be looking at decades in prison, thousands in fines, a criminal record, and the loss of some of your civil liberties.
This isn’t the type of crime where you can search “criminal defense lawyers near me,” choose someone off the page, and hope for the best. You need an attorney with extensive experience with these types of crimes. In Orange, Palm Beach, or Broward County, you’ll find top-tier criminal defense lawyers at Weinstein Legal.
What Does Kidnapping Mean?
A wide variety of actions can constitute kidnapping. You may have committed the crime and not realized that what you did could be construed as kidnapping. Kidnapping means that you’ve held someone against their will with the intention of receiving a ransom, inflicting harm, interfering with a governmental function, or perpetrating some other felony. False imprisonment, on the other hand, strictly deals with holding someone against their will without the intention to commit other crimes.
How Does the Law Define Kidnapping in Florida?
Florida State Statute Chapter 787 defines various manners of kidnapping. Below is a brief summary of the crimes that fall under the kidnapping statute:
- 787.01 Kidnapping – This section defines the crime of kidnapping as holding a person against their will by force or threat with the intention of committing other crimes. This also includes confinement of a person under 13 years of age without the consent of their parent or guardian. It is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. In most cases, if a sex crime is committed against a minor, it is a life felony.
- 787.02 False Imprisonment – This refers to confining someone against their will without the intention of committing additional crimes, like battery, sexual assault, etc. This is charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by five years in prison, but it jumps to a first-degree felony if the victim is under 13 years of age.
- 787.03 Interference With Custody – This refers to interference with the lawful custody of a parent, guardian, or a public agency. It is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
- 787.06 Human Trafficking – This refers to “means transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, enticing, maintaining, purchasing, patronizing, procuring, or obtaining another person for the purpose of exploitation of that person.” Human trafficking is a first-degree felony or life felony depending on the age of the victim and the criminal activities involved.
- 787.07 Human Smuggling – This is often confused with human trafficking, but human smuggling involves transporting or aiding someone who has illegally entered the United States. Human smuggling does not involve force or coercion. It is a felony of the third degree.
What are the Penalties for Kidnapping?
The penalties for kidnapping and related crimes are as follows:
- Life Felonies – Life in prison not to exceed 40 years and up to $15,000 in fines.
- First-Degree Felonies – Up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Second-Degree Felonies – Up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Third-Degree Felonies – Up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Many of the crimes related to kidnapping can be penalized with consecutive sentences and fines. Sexual crimes can also lead to placement on the sexual predator list.
False Imprisonment vs. Kidnapping – What’s the Difference?
Kidnapping refers to the act of abducting a person with the intent of committing further actions. For example, the kidnapper intends to solicit a ransom or to use the victim as a sex worker for financial gain. False imprisonment involves restricting a person’s ability to come and go. This crime is frequently charged in domestic disputes where the alleged offender refuses to allow the victim to leave.
How Can You Fight Kidnapping Charges in Florida?
Kidnapping is a major crime, but the burden of proof is always on the prosecution. That means that they must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Oftentimes, the abduction is easy for the prosecution to prove, but they have a difficult time establishing intent to commit further crimes. In those cases, a defense lawyer for violent crimes can often get the charges reduced to false imprisonment.
A defense lawyer can protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process. They can review police reports, depose the victim and witnesses, verify that the police adhered to proper investigative procedures, and more. Don’t trust your freedom to an overworked and possibly inexperienced public defender. With law offices in Orange, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, Weinstein Legal is ready to stand by your side and fight for your freedom. Call the Weinstein Legal office location nearest you: