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In Colorado, kidnapping is the felony crime of imprisoning another person and/or causing them to move from one place to another by force or unlawful enticement or persuasion.
First degree kidnapping (CRS 18-3-301) is taking someone for ransom, while second-degree kidnapping (CRS 18-3-302) comprises all other unlawful takings.
The punishment for first-degree kidnapping turns on whether the victim was harmed or threatened.
|First degree kidnapping in Colorado||Penalties|
|The victim is unharmed, and you did not threaten to use a deadly weapon||class 2 felony: 8 to 24 years in prison|
|If you possessed a deadly weapon and threatened to use it||class 2 felony: 16 to 48 years in prison|
|If the victim is injured or died||class 1 felony: 16 years to life in prison|
The punishment for second-degree kidnapping varies widely depending on your intent.
|Second degree kidnapping in Colorado||Penalties|
|No aggravating circumstances||class 4 felony: 2 to 8 years in prison and/or $2,000 to $500,000|
|You intended to sell or trade the victim||class 3 felony: 4 to 16 years in prison (or 10 to 32 years if you had a deadly weapon and threatened to use it) and/or $3,000 to $750,000|
|You robbed the victim||class 2 felony: 8 to 24 years in prison (or 16 to 48 years if you had a deadly weapon and threatened to use it) and/or $5,000 to $1,000,000|
|You committed a sexual offense against the victim through force or a deadly weapon||class 2 felony: 21 years to life in prison and/or $5,000 to $1,000,000|
Here at Colorado Legal Defense Group, we have represented literally thousands of people accused of kidnapping, often in the context of child custody battles. In our experience, the following five defenses can be very persuasive with prosecutors, judges, and juries:
To help you better understand Colorado’s kidnapping laws, our Denver criminal defense lawyers discuss the following, below:
Section 18-3-301 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) sets forth the crime of first-degree kidnapping.
18-3-301 (1) C.R.S. provides:
18-3-302 (1), C.R.S. defines second-degree kidnapping. That section provides:
The most significant difference between Colorado first and second-degree kidnapping is that first-degree kidnapping requires the intent to secure a ransom or other concession.
However, both first and second-degree kidnapping are serious felonies in Colorado. In some cases, depending on what happens during the kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping can even be punished more harshly than first-degree kidnapping.
Another difference between first and second-degree kidnapping arises from the concept of seizing and carrying the victim to another location — known legally as “asportation.” Asportation is not a requirement for first-degree kidnapping but is for second-degree kidnapping. Force need not be used in order for the victim to be seized.1
Nor does the victim need to be moved a great distance. Any distance – no matter how short – can constitute asportation. The only test is that the movement results in a substantial increase of harm to the victim.2
The concept of asportation is also important in distinguishing between second-degree kidnapping and the Colorado crime of false imprisonment under 18-3-303 C.R.S.
If you unlawfully detain someone without his or her consent, but don’t move the person, it is false imprisonment, a less serious crime than kidnapping.
In most cases, false imprisonment in Colorado is a class 2 misdemeanor. It only becomes a felony when:
Child custody and abduction is governed by two sets of laws:
You violate these laws when:
Acting in violation of these laws could be charged as kidnapping. Therefore, before removing a child from the state, we recommend you speak to a qualified family lawyer or the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the child’s legal place of residence.
Kidnapping is considered a Colorado “extraordinary risk” crime. As a result, the maximum sentence for kidnapping is anywhere from two to four years longer than other felonies in the same class.
Kidnapping becomes a Colorado “crime of violence” if:
If you are convicted of kidnapping as a crime of violence, you will face increased minimum and maximum penalties.
If the victim is physically unharmed, first-degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony. Punishment for first-degree kidnapping includes:
However, if you possessed a deadly weapon and threatened the victim with it, then even if the victim is unharmed, the possible prison sentence increases to
If the kidnapping victim was injured or died, first-degree kidnapping is a Colorado class 1 felony. In addition to the fine set forth above, penalties for first-degree kidnapping as a class 1 felony include:
Second-degree kidnapping is, at a minimum, a Colorado class 4 felony as well as an extraordinary risk crime. Consequences of second-degree kidnapping can include:
However, if you intend to sell, trade or barter the victim for money, drugs or other consideration, second-degree kidnapping is a Colorado class 3 felony with penalties of:
If you also rob your victim, the punishment for kidnapping can include:
And if you committed a sexual offense against your kidnapping victim and the crime was a crime of violence, you will be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of 21 years-life imprisonment.
Defending a Colorado kidnapping charge depends very much on the facts of your case. Some common defenses to kidnapping charges include (but are not limited to):
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, you can find help and information at: