Blog

What is Aggravated Kidnapping?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jul 02, 2019 | 0 Comments

kidnapped man in a trunk

Kidnapping is considered aggravated kidnapping if it is committed under certain circumstances and is usually punishable by life in prison. A person is guilty of aggravated kidnapping if he or she:

  • kidnaps for ransom, reward, or to commit extortion,
  • kidnaps to commit robbery, rape, or other sexual offenses,
  • kidnaps another person during the commission of a carjacking, or
  • if the victim suffers, or there is a substantial likelihood of suffering, death or bodily harm.

Under Penal Code 207, simple kidnapping is defined as moving another person by force or fear, without that person's consent, for a substantial distance.

Substantial distance means more than a slight or trivial distance.

A forcible taking occurs when the victim is taken or goes with the accused under some form of compulsion. The compulsion can be actual physical force, express threats, or by giving commands that the victim feels must be obeyed in order to avoid harm or injury.

The punishment for aggravated kidnapping in California is:

  • kidnapping for ransom or extortion—life in prison with the possibility of parole,
  • kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, or other sexual offenses—life with the possibility of parole,
  • kidnapping to facilitate carjacking—life with the possibility of parole,
  • if the victim suffers, or there is a substantial likelihood of suffering, death or bodily harm—life without the possibility of parole.

Simple kidnapping is punishable by:

  • three, five, or eight years prison, OR
  • five, eight, or eleven years if the victim is under 14 years old

Defenses to kidnapping include:

  • protecting or trying to protect a child under 14 from imminent harm,
  • the accused was making a lawful citizen's arrest,
  • there was only incidental movement of the victim,
  • consent of the victim.

What Is the Difference Between Simple Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping?

To prove that the accused is guilty of simple kidnapping per Penal Code 207(a), the prosecutor must prove that:

  • The accused took, held, or detained another person by using force or fear;
  • Using that force or fear the accused moved the other person or made the other person move a substantial distance, and
  • The other person did not consent to the movement

To consent means a person acted freely and voluntarily and knew the nature of the act. Substantial distance means more than a slight or trivial distance.

A person is guilty of aggravated kidnapping if they:

  • kidnap for ransom, reward, or to commit extortion,
  • kidnap to commit robbery, rape, or other sexual offenses,
  • kidnap another person during the commission of a carjacking,
  • if the victim suffers, or there is a substantial likelihood of suffering, death or bodily harm.

In cases of aggravated kidnapping for purposes of robbery, rape, or other sexual offenses, the forcible movement or asportation:

  • must be more than incidental to the commission of the robbery or the sex offense; and
  • must increase the risk of physical or psychological harm to the victim, beyond that inherent in the robbery or the sex offense. See People v. Rayford (1994) 9 Cal. 4th 1.

Please note that kidnapping for ransom or extortion can occur when a person is not moved but is instead seized, confined or held.

What is the punishment for aggravated kidnapping in California?

Aggravated kidnapping is punishable by:

  • kidnapping for ransom or extortion—life in prison with the possibility of parole,
  • kidnapping to commit robbery, rape, or other sexual offenses—life with the possibility of parole,
  • kidnapping to facilitate carjacking—life with the possibility of parole,
  • if the victim suffers, or there is a substantial likelihood of suffering, death or bodily harm—life without the possibility of parole.

Simple kidnapping is punishable by:

  • three, five, or eight years prison, OR
  • five, eight, or eleven years if the victim is under 14 years old.

Kidnapping is a strike under California's Three Strikes law.

Please note that in some circumstances a person may be placed on probation for a kidnapping conviction, but the court must, except in unusual cases, require as a condition of probation that the person be confined in the county jail for 12 months.

What are some Defenses to Kidnapping Charges in California?

  • the accused was protecting or trying to protect a child under 14 from imminent harm,
  • the accused was making a lawful citizen's arrest,
  • there was only incidental movement of the victim,
  • consent of the victim.

For example:

Moving a bank employee 15 or 25 feet from one area of the bank to the vault room, so that the accused may take cash from the vault, is merely incidental to the robbery and is not sufficient to support kidnapping for the purpose of robbery. People v. Washington (2005) 127 Cal. App. 4th 290.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370