21 Aug 23

What Are Arizona Kidnapping Defenses?

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Kidnapping is a serious criminal charge that carries severe penalties if you’re convicted. It’s certainly a charge that you should seek strong legal counsel to handle because Arizona criminal law can be tricky. A good defense attorney can help you with strong defense strategies to avoid serious jail time.

As you work to build your criminal defense case against kidnapping charges, here’s a look at the defense strategies you can employ.

Victim consent

One defense strategy for kidnapping charges is to show that the victim willingly consented to going with you. In this case, it isn’t kidnapping because you didn’t take someone someplace without their consent. An attorney works to bring about reasonable doubt that this might be the case to try and prove your innocence.

You might see this defense strategy in kidnappings that involve romantic relationships. Sometimes love makes people do funny things and a disagreement between the couple can make one claim that the other forced them into go somewhere they didn’t want to go, which can result in kidnapping charges.


For an act to be kidnapping it often includes deliberate knowledge that what you are doing is illegal. One of the largest scenarios in which kidnapping cases occur is in child custody when one parent doesn’t realize they are kidnapping a child by taking them across state lines without the knowledge and approval of another parent. Even without going across state lines a parent can accidentally commit the crime of kidnapping simply by keeping the child away from the other parent when it is their turn to have custody of the child.

Ignorance can also happen in young adults. A college prank or mild hazing can go wrong and lead a young person to commit the crime of kidnapping by accident. These situations can be tragic for the future of that young person without a strong defense and understanding from the courts. Proving that no ill will was involved in the prank or hazing can help ensure that the young adult does not live with a criminal record.


In some cases, a defendant is forced into a kidnapping act by another person who threatens bodily harm if they don’t cooperate. In these cases, an attorney can prove that the defendant would not have committed the crime had they not been forced to do so by another party. If there is imminent danger for the defendant, then this strategy will often work to prove that under normal circumstances, the kidnapping would not have occurred because the defendant meant no harm to the victim.

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An example of duress is if a parent tries to get a family member to kidnap a child from the other parent by using force. This can be threats or actual bodily injury to the person who is being coerced into actually taking the child against the will of the other parent.

Mental illness

Some mental illnesses make people do silly things, such as take a child from their rightful home. Mental illnesses can make a person believe that things that are only happening in their head are actually real, which can lead them to do some pretty crazy things.

Mental illness can be a defense for kidnapping because it shows that the defendant did not mean harm, but simply was not in the right mindset to be charged fully for the crime. In these scenarios, mental help and rehab are often prescribed instead of lengthy prison sentences.

If you’re facing criminal charges for kidnapping, you should seek an Arizona criminal law attorney to represent your case.

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