Kidnapping in California is a felony, punishable by imprisonment in state prison for three, five or eight years. The potential sentence for someone charged with kidnapping is often much greater, when it is charged with other crimes such as armed robbery and sex offenses, or when it involves a victim under the age of 14. A kidnapping conviction is a strike under the California Three Strikes Law. In order to prove a kidnapping, the District Attorney must show that the victim was moved a substantial distance, without consent, by using force or fear. A District Attorney can charge a kidnapping even if the victim does not claim that actual physical force was used. (Penal Code Section 207)
There are a variety of legal defenses that apply to kidnapping charges. These include (but are not limited to) consent, insufficient evidence to prove movement or another element of the crime, mistaken identity, or that the suspect had the legal authority to travel with his or her child.
Because of the very serious consequences to a kidnapping conviction, it is important that you hire an experienced California criminal defense attorney who can evaluate your case and formulate an appropriate defense. If you or someone you love has been charged with kidnapping in Alameda County, thCae East Bay or the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact Robbi A. Cook at (510) 208-5051 for a free initial consultation.