New York Penal Law 135.20 is kidnapping in the second degree. It’s among the most serious criminal offenses in New York as well as the rest of the country. This type of criminal act is defined as the act of kidnapping a person. This could entail tricking them into becoming a hostage, taking them by force, and hiding them from the general public and those who are working to rescue the victim. There is no requirement for ransom for this type of act to be considered kidnapping, nor is there a specific distance a person must travel from their home to be considered a victim of kidnapping. Keeping anyone against their will and secreting them away from the world is considered kidnapping.
Abducting another person you are or are not related to is kidnapping in the second degree, and it is punishable by law. It is a crime that comes with a prison sentence of more than 20 years if an abductor is found guilty, but guilty parties could end up spending the rest of their lives in prison. This is a criminal offense that comes with persecution to the highest extent of the law. Kidnapping in the second degree is not the same as kidnapping in the first degree.
Examples of Kidnapping in the Second Degree
One of the most common misconceptions regarding kidnapping is that a victim must be taken by someone he or she does not know whether that person intends to harm the victim or not. A good example of a kidnapping in the second degree is a couple who desperately wants a child of their own and takes one from another couple to hide away and keep as their own. If the child is hidden away and kept from being with his or her own family and from being recovered, it’s kidnapping in the second.
In a case that seems less serious but it still considered a very serious Class B Felony, take a couple who was once married but is now in the process of a divorce. The husband doesn’t want his marriage to end, so he convinces his future ex-wife to come with him to dinner. When she gets in the car, he decides to instead take her to their vacation home in another state and keep her there against her will as he works to make her see that he wants their marriage to work. She’s been abducted, and their current or previous relationship has absolutely no bearing on the extent of this crime.
Defenses for Kidnapping in the Second Degree
There is very little you can do to defend yourself from a kidnapping in the second degree charge unless your NYC criminal attorneys can prove you had this person with you of their own volition. For example, a couple that is working out their marriage to avoid divorce might agree to spend some time at their family vacation home away from everyone else. If the wife chooses not to tell her friends or the rest of her family where she is, they might assume she’s been kidnapped.
If she makes the decision to remain at the family vacation home of her own volition, however, she’s not considered a kidnap victim. She was not abducted, and the criminal charges the husband is being charged with will be dropped. There are other instances in which a charge might be made less serious, dropped, or the penalties lessened as a result of their familiar relationship or the decision of the abducted victim when the court asks for a statement.