Kidnapping is a serious offense that may be prosecuted at the state or federal level. If you are convicted of a federal kidnapping offense, you may face between 10 years to life behind bars and up to a $15,000 fine provided the individual is not harmed. If the victim is harmed, charges are considerably more severe. This crime is defined as the unwilling movement of a person from one place to another or the unwilling confinement of the individual. If you are facing federal kidnapping charges, it is crucial that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for representation as soon as possible.
The Differences Between State and Federal Kidnapping Offenses
The primary difference between state-level and federal-level kidnapping charges is the victim’s movement across state lines. Federal kidnapping, which falls under 18 U.S.C. Section 1201, occurs when the victim is unwillingly moved across state lines. Notably, international kidnapping and parental kidnapping charges fall under their own legal codes.
What You Need to Know About International Child Abduction Laws
The law becomes increasingly complex when the kidnapped individual crosses international lines. This is because the kidnapping laws in the other country will apply. However, under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the accused may be tried in the individual’s home country upon extradition. This treaty applies to more than 80 countries, and it also covers the return of the victim to his or her home country. Because the laws in both countries may apply in different ways and in various situations, the specific nuances of international kidnapping charges and punishments can vary.
The Nuances of Parental Child Abduction Laws
A parental abduction occurs when the non-custodial parent takes his or her child without the knowledge and permission of the custodial parent. State-level law enforcement officials may work the case provided there is no evidence that the child has been moved outside of state lines. The case becomes a federal matter when the child is taken beyond state or international lines. Likewise, these factors will impact whether the accused kidnapper is tried at the state or federal level.
Criminal Defense Strategies for Kidnapping
Because each case is unique, the possible defense strategies that your lawyer may use vary considerably. The specific strategies used may be dependent on whether the victim is a minor or an adult and where the crime took place. The nuances of the case can also play a role. This is because some defense strategies may be more reasonable given specific events, statements or actions. However, there are several common defense strategies that are often used in federal kidnapping cases. Regardless of how damning the evidence against you may seem, a skilled lawyer can argue for your innocence, for reduced charges and for a lighter sentence if you are convicted.
One of the common kidnapping defenses is that the victim either consented to the movement or willingly agreed to accompany the accused party. The defense attorney may also argue that the defendant did not intend to use deadly force in the events. The defendant may also be ignorant of laws or may have simply made a mistake. If this is the case, the attorney will argue that the individual did not know that he or she was breaking the law. Other possible defense strategies include the defendant’s relationship to the victim or mental state. Everything from mental illness to insanity may be used as an effective defense strategy.
Your criminal defense attorney will carefully review the circumstances of the case as well as the exact laws that you are accused of breaking before developing a defense strategy. It is important to note that your defense attorney will need ample time to prepare an effective defense. Hiring a federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is essential for your defense. In addition, your attorney should be present when you are questioned by authorities and make statements, and this includes immediately after the arrest.
Contact a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
While the laws surrounding federal kidnapping are straightforward and the penalties are clear, the specific details of the case can vary dramatically. While there are many criminal defense attorneys who may be happy to take your case, it is important to hire an attorney who has specific and related experience to the charges that you face. If you have been arrested on federal kidnapping charges, now is the time to start researching criminal defense attorneys and to hire the most well-qualified individual for the job.
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