New York Kidnapping Defense Lawyer
Kidnapping is an incredibly serious allegation. Defendants suspected of kidnapping can face serious felony charges under both New York and federal law. State and federal law enforcement often coordinate to find suspected kidnapping victims, which can lead to dual prosecution and extended incarceration. Even a first offense carries a mandatory minimum prison term and can lead to decades in prison.
If you are under suspicion of kidnapping, or if you’ve been arrested for kidnapping under federal or New York State law, it’s vital to get an experienced and knowledgeable kidnapping defense lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Call the dedicated New York criminal defense lawyers at Dupée & Monroe to help you build your strongest defense and fight to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely.
Kidnapping in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 135.20
Kidnapping and related offenses are covered by Article 135 of the New York Penal Law. NYPL § 135.20 establishes the base level of kidnapping, kidnapping in the second degree. Section 135.20 simply states: “A person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree when he abducts another person.”
“Abducting” a person means “to restrain a person with intent to prevent his liberation,” using one of the following means:
- secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found, or
- using or threatening to use deadly physical force.
Kidnapping can be accomplished by forcibly detaining someone against their will, or by hiding someone where they are unlikely to be found. Kidnapping can be for a short duration or a long duration. There’s no requirement that a person is held for days or weeks to count as felony kidnapping. Holding the victim for a longer term can, however, trigger more severe charges.
Kidnapping in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 135.25
Kidnapping in the first degree is a more serious charge and requires additional aggravating circumstances. A defendant can be charged with first-degree kidnapping if they abducted another person and held them for ransom (either for money or to compel a particular action).
First-degree kidnapping is also chargeable if the defendant held the victim for at least 12 hours and had the intention to do any of the following:
- Inflict physical injury on the victim
- Abuse the victim sexually
- Accomplish or advance the commission of a felony
- Terrorize the victim or a third person
- Interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function
First-degree kidnapping is also chargeable if the victim dies during the abduction or otherwise before they are returned to safety. If there’s no evidence that the victim was alive after the conclusion of the kidnapping, the defendant can be charged with first-degree kidnapping even if there’s no physical evidence of the victim’s death.
Penalties for Kidnapping
The penalty for kidnapping is incredibly severe, regardless of the level of the charges. Higher-level kidnapping does, however, carry harsher penalties:
- Kidnapping in the Second Degree is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a mandatory five-year minimum sentence, even for a first offense.
- Kidnapping in the First Degree is a Class A-1 felony, punishable by up to life in prison.
It’s imperative to get a seasoned New York criminal defense lawyer on your side as soon as you can if you are facing kidnapping charges. With help, you may be able to undermine the prosecution’s case, reduce the charges, or get the case dropped entirely.
Abducting a Relative and Kidnapping-Related Crimes
There are special rules that apply to “abducting” a relative. A non-custodial parent who takes their child against court orders, for example, simply to have the child in their care rather than for ransom or other criminal desires, has an affirmative defense to kidnapping charges. A similar defense is available to an aunt, uncle, sibling, grandparent, or other relative of the abducted person. The defendant may be charged with custodial interference or unlawful imprisonment instead of kidnapping.
Depending upon the circumstances, custodial interference or unlawful imprisonment may be charged as a misdemeanor or a lower-level felony, carrying a much lower penalty than kidnapping of any degree. Discuss your case with an experienced New York kidnapping defense attorney to learn if you have mitigating circumstances that could reduce your charges or potential sentence.
For Help Fighting Your Kidnapping or Unlawful Imprisonment Charges, Call Our Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested and charged with kidnapping or similar crimes under New York state or federal law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen. We represent clients charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, trafficking, and other serious offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.