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Kidnapping + Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

Does kidnapping have a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the time limit that a conviction can occur for the crime. And, no, kidnapping does not have any because it is extremely harmful and serious. Also, even if the previous captives have been released, there’s the danger that the captor could kidnap again.

What is the legal definition of kidnapping?

Kidnapping is snatching a person and then, imprisoning, confining and/or transporting that individual against his or her will. In many cases, it leads to murder.

When you say “kidnapping” to most people, they think of the snatching, abuse and murder of a child. While that’s not at all uncommon, almost anyone from women to government officials can be kidnapped. Today, the motives can be anything from weaponizing a child custody battle to sex trafficking.

Are kidnapping laws the same everywhere?

First and Second Degree kidnappings are almost always charged as felonies. First Degree involves political kidnappings, kidnapping with the intent to terrorize and/or murder, for ransom, etc. Second Degree is similar but is not usually done with harmful intent. Federal law gets involved if it is suspected that the captor has taken the captive across state lines. This is usually the assumption if the captives are not released within 24 hours.

Otherwise, it more or less varies by the state, the nature of the case and the point system. For example, a parent kidnapping their own child during a custody battle is actually a misdemeanor in some states. In most of those cases, the captor receives an average of a three-year prison sentence. Most other cases, however, receive an average of about 20 years in prison. If unlawful restraint and/or a weapon was used, the average prison sentence increases to 32 years, which is the second level. If ransom was involved, the level increases to six in some states. Every aspect of what happened during the crime is considered. Other than a parental kidnapping, most Second Degree kidnappings receive an average of five years.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Other Charges

Court fines for kidnapping are very hefty. For First Degree kidnapping, it’s an average of $50,000 while non-violent kidnappings result in average of $10,000.

Some captors are sentenced to serve at least 10 years of probation as an alternative to prison. However, if they violate it, that’s when they serve the actual prison sentence. The usual terms for probation are that the suspect has to meet with their probation officers on a regular basis, he or she can’t move or travel without the court’s permission, commit further crimes or associate with other known criminals.

Other Legal Fine Print for Kidnapping

By nature, a kidnapping can’t occur if the “captive” consents to it. Since a child under the age of 18 can’t legally consent to the action, it means that the parent or guardian didn’t consent to the captor taking the child. The same applies to individuals with intellectual or neurological disabilities whose parents or guardians have legal guardianship of them.

Ironically, some states require active use of force before the confinement or imprisonment to consider the kidnapping to be official. Others don’t, however, verbal threats or otherwise terrorizing the captive is considered to be a form of force by many states.

Some states don’t require any movement for the kidnapping to be considered official. Others do but some require that the movement be from one building to another. However, one room to another does not qualify in other states. Movement from a vehicle to a building is enough to make the kidnapping official in most states.

Some states make confinement a key element for a kidnapping to be official. Others convict even on the mere intent of an aggravated kidnapping. That is, the captor simply had to have the goal of holding a person and harming them but it ended up falling through.

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