California Penal Code Section 207 PC: Kidnapping

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimekidnapping

Kidnapping under California Penal Code Section 207 PC is a serious felony offense that carries lengthy prison sentences and other punishments for those convicted.

The crime of kidnapping requires a prosecutor to prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant took, held, or detained another person by force or by instilling fear in that other person
  2. Using force or fear, the defendant moved the other person a substantial distance.
  3. This was done without the other person's consent.

The defendant commits aggravated kidnapping when he or she moves another person and also one of the following aggravating factors is present:

  1. The victim is under the age of 14.
  2. The kidnapping involved a ransom demand.
  3. The victim suffered serious bodily harm or death.
  4. The kidnapping occurred as part of a carjacking in violation of California Penal Code Section 215 PC.
  5. OR other aggravating factors

Substantial distance means a distance more than a slight or trivial distance.

2. Examples

A man commits an armed robbery of a neighborhood store. The authorities are alerted to his robbery and respond to the scene of the crime. The man points a gun at one of the store customer's head and commands her to drive him to the airport. They get in her car and drive away. In addition to robbery in violation of California Penal Code Section 211 PC, the man could be prosecuted for kidnapping as he forced another to move a substantial distance by using threat of force and fear.

3. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Kidnapping during a carjacking - California Penal Code Section 209.5 PC
  2. Kidnapping in connection with extortion - California Penal Code Section 210 PC
  3. Child Abduction – California Penal Code Section 278 PC
  4. False imprisonment – California Penal Code Section 236 PC
  5. False imprisonment to protect from arrest - California Penal Code Section 210.5 PC
4. Defenses to Kidnapping

The defendant is not guilty of kidnapping is he or she reasonably believed that the other person consented to the movement. The People have the burden of proving that defendant did not have a reasonable belief of consent. The defendant is not guilty of kidnapping if the other person freely consented to go with the defendant.

5. Penalties

"Simple" kidnapping is a felony that is punishable by up to eight years in prison and substantial court fines. Sentences for "aggravated" kidnapping as described above may vary depending on the aggravating factors. If the victim was under 14, the defendant may be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison. A defendant can be sentenced to life with the possibility of parole when the kidnapping involves a ransom, a reward, or is committed in connection with an extortion offense in violation of California Penal Code Section 518 PC, a robbery in violation of California Penal Code Section 211 PC, a carjacking pursuant to California Penal Code Section 215 PC, or various sex crime offenses. Someone can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole where the kidnapping is committed for ransom or extortion and the victim dies or is seriously harmed or is placed in a situation that exposes them to a high risk of death. Simple and aggravated kidnapping are both considered "strikes" under California's Three Strikes Law and can be used to enhance any future convictions.

6. Criminal Defense for Kidnapping Cases

Kidnapping is a very serious offense that can result in a lengthy prison sentence. Sometimes, the allegation of kidnapping may arise out of a false accusation stemming from a child custody dispute. If you have been accused of a crime of this nature, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who was previously assigned to prosecute major felonies like kidnapping. Mr. Kraut is highly respected throughout the legal system for his grasp of the criminal law and his ability to obtain the best outcome possible for his clients.

For more information about kidnapping charges, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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