Posted on June 18, 2015

California Kidnapping Defense P.C. § 207, 208, 209, 209.5

Los Angeles Kidnapping Attorney

Kidnapping allegations are violent accusations that must be handled and defended delicately. In some cases, charges of kidnapping may carry a life sentence without the possibility of parole depending on whether one demanded a random or committed a kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking. Kidnapping is a “strike offense” as applied to California’s Three Strike Laws and is an inherently dangerous felony. So inherently dangerous that if someone is killed, even accidentally during the commission of the kidnapping, then one can be charged with first degree murder under California’s felony murder rule. Based on the severity of a kidnapping allegation, nothing less than a full and extensive defense investigation must be conducted on your behalf. The best approach to defeating kidnapping accusations is early intervention by a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney. Mr. Rogers immediately begins a defense investigation to reveal mitigating evidence, exculpatory evidence, as well as his client’s good moral character from friends and family the police officers never bothered to gather. This evidence is pertinent because it may assist in reducing his client’s exposure to state prison in the event the incident was a big misunderstanding blown way out of proportion. If you are facing kidnapping accusations, make no statement to the police and contact the Law Offices of John D. Rogers immediately.

Elements of Kidnapping

According to CALCRIM 1215, in order for someone to be found guilty of kidnapping, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Defendant took, held, or detained another person using force or reasonable fear

2. While using force or fear, Defendant moved the other person a substantial distance

3. The other person did not consent to the movement

4. Defendant did not reasonable believe the other person consented to the movement

Legal Defenses to Kidnapping

• You did not move or cause to move another person a substantial distance. This defense is measured under all the circumstances.

• The movement of another was merely incidental

• The other person was not under the age of 14 years old

• You had consent or movement was agreed by the alleged victim

• You reasonably believed you had consent to move the other person

• The victim was not reasonably placed in force or fear of harm

• The victim is falsifying or substantially exaggerating the circumstances

Punishment for Kidnapping

If convicted of kidnapping, the punishment varies depending on the circumstances. Generally the punishment if convicted under P.C. § 207 is 3, 5, or 8 years in California state prison. However, under P.C. § 208(b), if the person kidnapped is under 14 years of age at the time of the commission then one faces 5, 8, or 11 years in California state prison. If one is kidnapping and demands a ransom, then under P.C. § 209(a) the sentencing range is life without the possibility of parole even if the victim does not suffer any bodily harm or death. Additionally, under P.C. § 209(b)(1), any person who kidnaps or carries away any individual to commit a robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation, sodomy shall be imprisoned in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, in cases where a kidnapping occurs during the commission of a carjacking, then under P.C. § 209.5(a), a defendant faces life without the possibility of parole.

Los Angeles Defense Investigation

Since kidnapping allegations can carry a substantial amount of time in state prison or perhaps a life sentence without the possibility of parole, nothing short of a full defense investigation is absolutely necessary. The Law Offices of John D. Rogers has access to numerous experts as well as private investigators to further examine the evidence and seek additional evidence police officers either missed or intentionally omitted from gathering. Evidence such as video surveillance cameras from local business or residential neighbors, a full history of the alleged victim and the suspect, conduct criminal background checks on all of the prosecutor’s intended witnesses, as well as question family members and friends of the defendant to determine whether they of the type of character to commit a kidnapping crime.

Mitigating Factors to Kidnapping

Extraordinary circumstances may permit a person to do their time in the local county jail versus spending time in state prison for a kidnapping conviction and a defendant will be placed on formal probation for a period. This however is rare so much that the statute governing kidnapping the following, “..except in unusual cases..” In this instance, the judge must find that the interests of justice would best be served by a lesser penalty of up to 12 months in the county jail versus spending a substantial amount of time in state prison. Factors the judge will consider is one’s prior criminal record, the exact motive for carrying out the offense, who would be impacted by a defendant spending time in prison; and does the defendant portray a character capable for being reformed.

Kidnapping Examples

Dan was walking down the street in downtown Los Angeles. He pulled out a knife and held up Vic and demanded that she hand over her purse and money. Because he noticed people approaching a few blocks away, he told Vic to walk to the corner alley approximately 20 feet away where he could complete the theft without anyone other than Vic noticing. Vic handed over her purse and money because she believed Dan would harm her. Dan grabbed the purse and money and ran down the street. Minutes later Dan was arrested by the LAPD and charged with kidnapping. In this case, Dan’s defense attorney would argue that the movement of Vic was merely incidental to the robbery itself and therefore Dan would not be guilty of kidnapping.

Dan had just stolen a cellular phone from a store and was in the means of escaping from being caught by security. In an effort to get away, he approached a vehicle at a red light which was being driven by Sally. Dan demanded that Sally get out of the car because he’s taking it. Dan showed Sally his knife and she quickly got out of the car. Before she could do or say anything further, Dan pushed her, got into the car and drove away. Dan was subsequently apprehended by police officers a few miles away. When arrested, Dan noticed Sally’s small child asleep in the backseat of the vehicle. Police officers charged Dan with kidnapping. Here, Dan’s defense lawyer would argue that Dan is not guilty of kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, which carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole, because he had no knowledge that Sally’s child was in the backseat and thus Dan is not guilty of kidnapping.

Related Offenses

• False Imprisonment
P.C. § 278.5: Child Abduction

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or under investigation for kidnapping, contact Los Angeles Kidnapping Defense Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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