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Kidnapping is the act of taking a person from one place to another without their consent, through the use of fear, intimidation, or manipulation to get them to cooperate. Generally, kidnapping is aimed at extortion or the intention to commit another crime. Taking a person against their will or that of their caregivers is a crime that is severely punished in California, especially where violence was used. If you are facing kidnapping charges, you need to get in touch with a criminal lawyer to help you fight the charges.
Kidnapping is a very serious criminal offence that deals with an accused person taking their victim(s) from one place to another without their consent. It is a particularly serious offence given the victim’s liberty interests and is often laid in conjunction with other violent offences.
The Criminal Code of Canada sets out the offence in section 279(1):
279. (1) Every person commits an offence who kidnaps a person with intent
(a) to cause the person to be confined or imprisoned against the person’s will;
(b) to cause the person to be unlawfully sent or transported out of Canada against the person’s will; or
(c) to hold the person for ransom or to service against the person’s will.
When a person is kidnapped, he or she has been taken against his or her will usually through forcible means, by threats against him or her or in some way of deceit. There is often an intent by the perpetrator that harm or injury may occur, but the person may expect a lengthy detainment. Kidnapping is usually accompanied with a ransom for money or other gains. At common law, kidnapping consisted of the forcible abduction or stealing or carrying away of a person from one’s own country to another. Kidnapping is the taking away of a person by force, threat, or deceit, with intent to cause him or her to be detained against his or her will.
Abduction is called a few different things across the nation. In common law, abduction refers to a person taking away another person by persuasion, fraud, or open force. Abduction also specifically means the abductor unlawfully interferes with a family relationship, such as a child getting taken from their parent. It is usually easy to identify a case of abduction or kidnapping by the actions that take place. A person is taken with possible restraint and kept from returning home. The individual may be blindfolded to ensure the avoidance of seeing the person that took him or her. The victim may be gagged so he or she cannot speak, and a vehicle is often used when removing these persons from their original area. While kidnapping often has a ransom for some gain, abduction does not in most cases.
Kidnapping, next to murder or rape is one of the more serious charges one can face. The maximum penalty for kidnapping is life in prison. Also, there are mandatory minimum penalties that may apply depending on the circumstances.
Forcible confinement is governed by subsection (2) and provides that if a person is found guilty of an indictable offence here, then they may be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and if facing a summary offence, to punishment of imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18-months.
In the act of kidnapping, it requires three distinct actions on the part of the offender. First is the unlawful taking of the victim by force or intimidation. Second is the detaining of the victim. Third is committing the first two actions with the intent to achieve at least one of the following goals to deprave the victim of personal liberty, to shield the person from those in charge of the victim, or to force the abducted person to do things against their will.
With a good criminal defense attorney, it is possible to get a reduction of your charges or a dismissal altogether. A skilled attorney can come up with various strategies to fight the allegations for you.
Some of the defense strategies commonly used to fight kidnapping allegations are:
Consent: You are not guilty of kidnapping if you reasonably and actually believed that the other person consented to the movement. The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably and actually believe that the other person consented to the movement. You are also not guilty if the other person consented to go with you. Although, consent may be withdrawn.
Mistake of Fact: Generally, where a particular fact is an element of the crime, it is no defense that the perpetrator is unaware of the existence of that fact, or had a mistaken belief about that fact. However, there are cases in which the courts have taken a different approach, either leaving the question of the effect of mistake open or recognizing mistake as justification or defense. A person charged with kidnapping is entitled to introduce evidence to show that s/he believed s/he was acting under the authority of law, in a jurisdiction which allows the defense of mistake.
Coercion: It’s also not unheard of for someone under threat of blackmail or violence by another individual to engage in a criminal activity of their own, including kidnapping. If you were threatened with death or serious bodily injury, or unlawful force was used to coerce you to commit a kidnapping crime, then you can use this as a viable defense to your charges.
If you are facing kidnapping or abduction charges it is important to hire a criminal lawyer. These charges can have severe consequences including imprisonment. We are available to support you from the outset, explaining everything that is happening to you along the way and making a strong argument for your defence.
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