Understanding Kidnapping Charges in New York
New York has strict laws against kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment. Under New York Penal Law §135.20, a person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree when they abduct another person. Abduction means restraining a person with the intent to prevent their liberation by either:
- Using or threatening to use deadly physical force, or
- Restraining the person for a period of more than 12 hours with the intent to violate them sexually or cause physical injury/terrorize them.
Kidnapping in the second degree is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
First-degree kidnapping involves abducting another person while restraining them for over 12 hours with the intent to:
- Obtain ransom,
- Commit a felony,
- Inflict physical injury or sexually abuse the victim,
- Terrorize the victim or a third person, or
- Interfere with a governmental or political function.
First-degree kidnapping is a Class A-1 felony with a possible life sentence.
Common Kidnapping Defenses
Skilled Long Island criminal defense lawyers can often get kidnapping charges reduced or dismissed by raising key defenses such as:
- Lack of criminal intent – The prosecution must prove you intended to kidnap or unlawfully imprison the victim. For example, if you restrained someone while acting in self-defense, you may lack the requisite criminal intent.
- No substantial interference with liberty – For unlawful imprisonment, your lawyer can argue there was no substantial interference with the victim’s liberty.
- Duress – If you were coerced into kidnapping someone through threats of physical harm, you may have a duress defense. However, the threat must be imminent and you must have had no reasonable means of escape.
- Intoxication – Evidence that you were involuntarily intoxicated at the time of the kidnapping could help show you lacked criminal intent. However, voluntary intoxication is not a defense in New York.
- False allegations – Unfortunately, false kidnapping allegations sometimes occur during contentious divorces or custody battles. Your lawyer can investigate whether the charges stem from a grudge or misunderstanding rather than criminal wrongdoing.
The Importance of an Experienced Kidnapping Lawyer
By hiring a knowledgeable Long Island criminal defense attorney, you can even the playing field and give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome. A skilled lawyer will:
- Thoroughly investigate the allegations and build the strongest possible defense
- Aggressively cross-examine prosecution witnesses to expose inconsistencies
- Present expert testimony rebutting any forensic evidence
- Advise you of your rights and ensure police followed proper procedures
- Negotiate with the prosecution to get charges reduced or dismissed
- Take your case to trial if a plea bargain cannot be reached
Finding the Best Kidnapping Lawyer for Your Case
If you or someone you love has been accused of kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment on Long Island, do not delay in contacting a criminal defense attorney. Look for a lawyer who:
- Has extensive experience defending kidnapping charges
- Is respected by prosecutors and judges
- Has a track record of success in these difficult cases
- Makes you feel comfortable and earns your trust
- Is available for jail visits and responsive to your concerns
- Clearly explains your options and legal strategy
- Does not make unrealistic promises but is cautiously optimistic
The stakes are high, so be wary of lawyers charging extremely low fees or pushing for a quick plea deal without thoroughly examining your case. The right attorney will aggressively defend your rights both in and out of the courtroom.
With an experienced kidnapping lawyer from Long Island on your side, you can have hope the legal system will treat you fairly so you can move on with your life. Do not lose hope – fight the charges by hiring a dedicated criminal defense attorney today.