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New York Penal Law 135.25: Kidnapping in the first degree

By Spodek Law Group | May 3, 2017
(Last Updated On: July 26, 2023)

Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 08:56 pm

One of the most serious crimes a person can commit in the state of New York is kidnapping. It is committed when a person restrains and holds another individual in a concealed location without the consent of that person. In general, there are two degrees of kidnapping in the New York criminal code. One is kidnapping in the second degree, while the other is kidnapping in the second degree. Kidnapping in the second degree entails the abduction of a person. However, according to New York penal law 135.25, if you abduct someone with certain other factors being involved, your charge can be elevated to kidnapping in the first degree.

Factors That Raise Charge to Kidnapping in the First Degree as Per New York Penal Law 135.25

There are specific additional factors that come into play that can elevate a charge of kidnapping in the second degree to kidnapping in the first degree. They are as follows:

• The kidnapper demands a ransom
• The person kidnapped dies If the individual was under the age of 16 or deemed incompetent at the time of the abduction, a first degree charge is given with the crime
• The kidnapped person is restrained for over 12 hours so that the kidnapper can physically or sexually assault them, commit a felony, terrorize a third person or interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function

Example of Kidnapping in the First Degree According to New York’s Penal Law 135.25

One example of the crime of kidnapping in the first degree is a man abducting a minor child from the park with the help of her nanny. The man knows that the child’s parents are wealthy and subsequently demands payment in the amount of $1 million to return the little girl safely to them. As a result of these actions, the man and the child’s nanny could both be charged with and prosecuted for kidnapping in the first degree due to the fact that both were involved in the crime and a ransom was demanded.

Defenses for Kidnapping in the First Degree

One of the most important defenses for the crime of kidnapping in the first degree is consent. In other words, if the victim actually knew that you intended to go to a specific location and they agreed to go with you, the charge could be dropped to kidnapping in the second degree. As per New York’s Penal Law 135.30, there is another defense for a kidnapping charge that is that you are related to the individual you abducted and that the purpose behind the kidnapping was to control that person. If you are charged with kidnapping in the first degree, your NYC criminal attorney can argue in court that the victim knew you were going to a certain location and requested to go with you. Of course, this would result in the charges against you being reduced to kidnapping in the second degree.

Penalties and Sentencing for Kidnapping in the First Degree

The crime of kidnapping in the second degree is considered to be a class A-1 felony. If you are convicted of the crime, you can spend the rest of your life in prison. a minimum sentence for kidnapping in the first degree ranges from 15 to 40 years.

New York Penal Law 135.20: Kidnapping in the second degree

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.

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