Kidnapping is a very serious crime. Because Kidnapping involves the unlawful deprivation of another human being’s freedom, society imposes severe penalties on offenders convicted of Kidnapping.

Although Kidnapping is often a state crime, if the person is transported over state lines, it becomes a federal crime. Kidnapping is commonly defined as taking a person and holding or transporting them against their will.

Prohibited Activities

In order to be found guilty of Kidnapping, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
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A person was unlawfully detained or transported; and
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Some aggravating circumstance was present, such as a demand for money, an attempt to commit a felony, or an attempt to injure the person who was seized.


In California, kidnapping is punishable by up to eight years in prison for a first offense, or up to eleven years if the victim is under fourteen.

Federal law provides that kidnapping may be punishable by up to life in prison and, in certain instances, by death.

In Texas, kidnapping may be punishable by a sentence of 5 to 99 years or life in prison.
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