Kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes on the books in Pennsylvania. It is lumped together with other violent felonies such as robbery and arson, and conviction carries severe sentences, including a minimum of nearly two years in prison on a first offense. Prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, so it is often possible to fight kidnapping charges in court, but it is important to begin building a vigorous defense immediately.
If you are facing kidnapping charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced kidnapping defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Kidnapping Defined in Pennsylvania
Kidnapping is defined as the unlawful removal of another person a substantial distance from where she was found, or the unlawful confinement of a person for a substantial period of time in an isolated place, with any of the following intentions: to hold her for ransom or as a hostage, to facilitate the commission of a felony or flight from a felony, to injure or terrorize her or someone else, or to interfere with the performance of public officials. Kidnapping is a first-degree felony punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. As a serious violent felony, conviction on kidnapping charges carries mandatory minimum sentences, including at least 22 months on a first offense and at least 10 years for repeat violent offenders. Kidnapping of a minor is treated as a similar offense with similar penalties, except that convicted offenders are required to register as violent sex offenders for 10 years following release from prison.
Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint and False Imprisonment in Pennsylvania
There are several other crimes that are considered lesser forms of kidnapping in Pennsylvania. These include unlawful restraint, a first-degree misdemeanor, which is defined as restraining another person unlawfully under circumstances that expose the person to risk of serious injury, or keeping another person in involuntary servitude. Unlawful restraint is punishable by as many as five years. Where the person is a minor, second-degree felony charges apply and a sentence as long as 10 years is possible. False imprisonment, meanwhile, is a second-degree misdemeanor in which an offender knowingly restrains another person unlawfully in order to substantially interfere with the person’s liberty. It carries penalties of as many as two years unless a minor is involved, in which case it is a second-degree felony punishable by as many as 10 years.
Kidnapping and Child Custody in Pennsylvania
Other kidnapping-related statutes involve the abduction of children, often during custody disputes. Knowingly or recklessly taking or enticing a child away from the custody of her parent or guardian, known as interference with custody of children, is generally a third-degree felony punishable by as many as seven years. But where the offender has valid partial custody or visitation rights and keeps the child for less than 24 hours with good cause, it is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by at most two years. Where the offender is not a parent or guardian, and he knew his actions would cause serious alarm, or he acted with reckless disregard for that possibility, interference with custody of children is a second-degree felony punishable by as many as 10 years. Removing a child from her place of residence in order to conceal her from her parent or guardian, known as concealment of whereabouts of a child, is a third-degree felony that carries penalties of as many as seven years. Luring a child into a car or building is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by as many as five years.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with kidnapping, call Brian Manchester, an experienced kidnapping defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.