What are the factors or elements for 207 PC Kidnapping?
“Kidnapping” is the moving of a victim to substantial distance with the use of force or fear. You violate California’s kidnapping laws, found under Penal Code 207, 208, 209 and 209.5 PC, when you:
- Move another person
- A substantial distance
- Without the person’s consent,
- Using force or fear.
- “Force or fear” means
- that you actually inflicted physical force upon the alleged victim(s), or
- that you threatened to inflict imminent physical harm.
If you move another person and
- Use force, fear or fraudupon a victim who is a child under 14 years of age,
- Accompany the kidnapping with a demand for ransom,
- Cause the victim to suffer serious bodily harm or death,
- Kidnap another person while you are violating Penal Code 215 PC California’s carjacking law, or
- Violate a number of other laws that relate to kidnapping,
The offense elevates to aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is a more serious charge, a conviction for which carries life in prison.
Examples of kidnapping
- Tying someone up, moving her to a desolate location, then calling her family and demanding that they pay ransom to gain her release.
- Holding a gun to someone’s head, and demanding that he drives you away from the store you just robbed.
- Ordering a woman out of a busy store, out onto the street, into a back alley and then into your car to rape her, all under the threat of killing her daughter if she doesn’t go with you.
- Telling your girlfriend’s 8-year-old son that you are taking him to the movies when, in fact, you have no such intention and are simply “hiding” him from his mother after finding out that she cheated on you.
Kidnapping is a felony that can land you in California state prison for up to eight (8) years. Aggravated kidnapping, which is also a felony, carries a sentence of five (5) years to life.
How can we successfully defend you of charges California Penal Code 207 PC Kidnapping?
There are many defenses that may be raised to fight a charge of “kidnapping” in California. Below are the most common ones:
- Good Faith Belief in Consent:If the defendant had a reasonable belief that the victim consented to the movement, then the defendant is not guilty of kidnapping.
- Consent: If the victim actually consented to the movement, then the defendant is not guilty of kidnapping. The defendant is not guilty of “kidnapping” if the other person “consented” to go with the defendant. The other person consented if he/she:
- Freely and voluntarily agreed to go with or be moved by the defendant
- Knew of the movement, and
- Had enough maturity and understanding to choose to go with the defendant.
The prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the other person did not consent to go with the defendant. If the prosecutor has not met this burden, the defendant will not be guilty of this crime.
“Consent” may be withdrawn. If, at first, a person agreed to go with the defendant, the person’s consent ended if the person changed his or her mind and no longer freely and voluntarily agreed to go with or be moved by the defendant. The defendant is guilty of kidnapping if after the other person withdrew consent, the defendant committed the kidnapping.
- Insufficient movement: If the movement was slight and/or trivial, the defendant’s act will not meet the “substantial movement” requirement for kidnapping. See examples of “substantial movement” above.
- False Accusation/Insufficient Evidence: Often times, people who are going through a highly contentious divorce involving a custody battle, may let things get out of hand, and end up accusing each other of kidnapping their own child. The defendant cannot be convicted of kidnapping absent actual evidence of kidnapping, such as phone records that indicate that the victim called for help after being taken, or was taken and moved without his/her consent, and/or that the kidnapping parent has no lawful custody over the child.
We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.
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