Federal Kidnapping Defined
Kidnapping can be prosecuted as a state crime or a federal crime, depending on the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping. This crime is commonly defined as the taking of a person from one place to another against his or her will, or the confining of a person to a controlled space. The federal kidnapping statute was passed by Congress in 1932 as a result of the kidnapping of baby Lindbergh and allows the federal government to take the lead in a case if there is a suspicion that the victim may have been taken across state lines.
Elements of Federal Kidnapping
In order to be charged with federal kidnapping:
- The victim must be transported across state lines or outside of the U.S.; OR
- The victim is a foreign official, an internationally protected person or an official guest of the United States; OR
- The victim is among those officers and employees of the United States or any agency in any branch of the United States government and the alleged kidnapping is done while person is engaged in the performance of their official duties.
If the victim is not returned within 24 hours, the Federal Kidnapping Act gives law enforcement and prosecutors the authority to presume that the victim has been taken outside of the state or the country; however, the federal statute makes an exception for parents who abduct minor children.
Penalties for Federal Kidnapping Charge
According to the federal kidnapping statute, the penalty for a conviction is imprisonment for any period of time, up to life. If the kidnapping results in the death of the victim or of any other individual, the offender may receive the death penalty.
Charged with Federal Kidnapping?
If you are charged or are being investigated for federal kidnapping, a strong defense must start from the beginning. A defense attorney with experience in federal crimes can provide the best defense possible. Contact the defense attorneys at Strom Law Firm for a free consultation. 803.252.4800