• Introduction to Kidnapping Law

    Author : The Blanch Law Firm April 2, 2014

    The Blanch Law Firm’s criminal defense attorney team represents clients in all criminal charges, including New York and federal kidnapping charges.

    Criminal charges arising from allegations of kidnapping are often prosecuted in federal court, particularly where the accused has allegedly abducted the victim-witness and transported him or her across state lines.

    For information on defending against Federal or state kidnapping charges, Contact The Blanch Law Firm at (888) 8 BLANCH and ask to speak with a Felony Defense Attorney.

    The origin of the word kidnap is interesting but somewhat obscure. "Nap" is most likely a corruption of the word "nab," meaning "to seize" or "to catch." "Kid" has long meant child, as in baby goat. Thus, the original use of the word "kidnapping" described the practice of seizing children, apparently to transport them to work on plantations in America.

    The crimes contained in Article 135 of the New York Penal Law—unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, custodial interference and coercion—have in common interference with the liberty of the victim, either by restricting his movements, transporting him someplace he does not want to go, hiding him, forcing him to engage in conduct that he has a right not to engage in, or preventing him from engaging in conduct that he has a right to engage in. These crimes range in degree of seriousness from class A misdemeanors to a class A-I felony, depending on such factors as the purpose for which the restraint is committed, its duration, and the degree of force used to accomplish it. One of the more complicated legal issues arising in these cases is the question of when unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping merges with an underlying crime such as rape or robbery.

    A person is guilty of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, when he restrains another person.[FN1] The first degree of the crime, a class E felony, is committed with the existence of the additional element that the restraint must take place under circumstances that expose the victim to a risk of serious physical injury.

    "Restrain" means "to restrict a person's movements intentionally and unlawfully in such manner as to interfere substantially with his liberty by moving him from one place to another, or by confining him in the place where the restraint commences or in a place to which he has been moved, without consent and with knowledge that the restriction is unlawful." A victim is restrained "without consent" if the restraint "is accomplished by (a) physical force, intimidation, or deception; or (b) by any means whatever including the acquiescence of the victim, if he is a child less than sixteen years old or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian or other person or institution having lawful control or custody of him has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement."

    Because the basic offense requires an intent to restrain, defendants who thought they were transporting a dead body could not be found guilty of restraint.

    To speak with a criminal defense attorney at The Blanch Law Firm regarding a kidnapping charge, Contact us at (888) 8 BLANCH.

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