Kansas Kidnapping Laws: The Types of Charges and Penalties

The charges of kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping are felonies in Kansas. They carry a possible penalty of 55 months to 653 months in prison.

Kidnapping charges in Kansas are serious criminal offenses, and a conviction could send defendants to prison for decades. However, unlike the way that movies and TV shows usually portray kidnappings, these cases aren’t always so clear-cut.

The accusations leveled against a defendant are often disputable, and prosecutors may overcharge the suspect with a felony when a misdemeanor offense is more appropriate. Or, the facts of the case might not justify kidnapping charges at all.

If you or a loved one have been charged with kidnapping, it’s important to immediately contact a criminal attorney who can fight for your rights.

What are the different types of kidnapping charges?

Under Kansas law, there are two types of kidnapping charges: kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping. Additionally, state statute includes the charge of criminal restraint, which is a similar offense to kidnapping.

Kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and criminal restraint include similar criminal elements. But they carry the potential for vastly different punishments, ranging from a year in jail to more than 50 years in prison. This makes it especially important to hire an experienced criminal attorney who can develop a defense strategy to either lower or dismiss these types of charges.

How is kidnapping defined under the statute?

In Kansas, kidnapping is a level 3 felony defined as taking or confining a person by force, threat, or deception with the intent to hold them:

A defendant convicted of kidnapping in Kansas could be sentenced anywhere from 55 months to 247 months in prison, depending on their criminal record. They could also be fined up to $300,000.

Aggravated kidnapping is a level 1 felony that’s defined as physically harming a person who is kidnapped. The possible sentence ranges from 147 months to 653 months in prison with a fine up to $300,000.

What is criminal restraint?

Criminal restraint is defined by Kansas law as knowingly and without legal authority restraining another person so as to substantially interfere with their liberty. The charge is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.

The charge of criminal restraint doesn’t include law enforcement officers lawfully performing their duties. Additionally, it doesn’t include store owners or employees detaining someone they have probable cause to believe has taken or is about to wrongfully take merchandise from the business. The owner or employee can only detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable amount of time.

What are the legal defenses against kidnapping charges?

People who are arrested for kidnapping have several defense strategies they can use to either lessen the punishment or dismiss the charges altogether. Similar to other types of criminal charges, the facts of a kidnapping case are often unclear and may favor the defendant during plea negotiations or a trial.

Some common defenses against kidnapping charges include:

If you’ve been charged with kidnapping in Kansas, contact the Koop Law Firm for skilled legal counsel. Jeremy D. Koop has years of experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, gaining valuable insight into effective ways to fight kidnapping and criminal restraint charges.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

Kansas Robbery Laws: What to Know and Legal Defenses

Robbery and aggravated robbery are felony charges in Kansas. If convicted, a defendant could go to prison for over 20 years, depending on their record.

Robbery charges in Kansas are serious criminal offenses that can dramatically impact the future of defendants. A conviction may result in decades in prison and hundreds of thousands in fines, depending on the suspect’s criminal record.

As with any felony-level crime, it could make getting a job and finding housing much more difficult. Additionally, someone convicted of robbery may be required to register as a violent offender for the rest of their life.

However, defendants can fight robbery charges with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney in Kansas. Experienced defense attorneys are knowledgeable of effective strategies to lessen the punishment or avoid prison time.

Types of robbery charges

There are two types of robbery charges under Kansas statute: robbery and aggravated robbery.

Robbery is defined as knowingly taking property from another person or in the presence of another person by force or the threat of bodily harm. It’s a level 5 felony with a possible sentence of 31 to 136 months in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Aggravated robbery is defined as a robbery that was committed by a person who was either armed with a dangerous weapon or who inflicted bodily harm during the robbery. It’s a level 3 felony with a possible sentence of 55 to 247 months in prison and a fine up to $300,000.

Robbery vs. theft vs. burglary

The term robbery is sometimes used synonymously with theft and burglary, but they’re distinctly different crimes with different possible punishments under Kansas law.

Legal defenses against robbery charges

Someone accused of robbery or aggravated robbery has various legal defenses, which may help them avoid prison or beat the charges altogether. Some common defenses include mistaken identity, lack of a weapon or injury, and questioning whether the robbery was successful.

If you’ve been charged with robbery in Kansas, it’s important to immediately contact an attorney. Jeremy D. Koop has years of experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney in Kansas, gaining insight into the most effective ways to fight robbery charges. Contact the Koop Law Firm for an aggressive and skilled defense.

Understanding Kansas Assault Charges and Common Defenses

Kansas law has four types of assault charges with sentences that range from a month in jail to nearly four years in prison, depending on your criminal record.

Kansas law defines assault as intentionally putting someone in fear of immediate physical danger. This could be an act or a threat of action that causes someone to believe they could be harmed. In some states, an assault charge involves physical contact. However, bodily contact isn’t necessary for someone to be charged and convicted of assault in Kansas.

There are four types of assault charges under state law: assault, aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. The maximum sentences range from one month in jail to nearly four years in prison, depending on the type of assault charge, the circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the defendant.

If you’re arrested for assault, it’s important to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who’s knowledgeable of effective defenses against these types of charges.

Simple assault

The charge of assault in Kansas, which is commonly referred to as a simple assault, is a class C misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is one month in jail and a fine up to $500. A prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted intentionally and it was reasonable for the victim to believe they could be physically harmed.

Although a misdemeanor assault charge may not seem as serious as other charges, a conviction can have a significant impact on your life. It could result in more serious criminal sentences in the future, increased bail amounts, and restraining orders.

Aggravated assault

In Kansas, aggravated assault is an assault committed with a deadly weapon, while disguised in any manner to conceal identity, or with the intent to commit a felony. A conviction carries a possible sentence of 11 to 34 months in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

A defendant accused of using a firearm during an aggravated assault faces the possibility of additional punishment in Kansas. The state’s sentencing guidelines specify that prison time rather than probation is the appropriate sentence – even for defendants with little to no criminal record.  Additionally, the defendant could be required to register as a violent offender with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially remove prison as the presumed punishment and the requirement that the defendant register as a violent offender.

Assault and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer

Under Kansas law, the charge of assault of a law enforcement officer is defined as assaulting a uniformed or properly identified state, county, city, or campus law enforcement officer while they’re on duty. The charge is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

Aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer is committing aggravated assault against a uniformed or properly identified state, county, city, or campus law enforcement officer while they’re on duty. The charge is a level 6 felony with a maximum sentence of 46 months in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Similar to aggravated assault with a firearm, defendants face a stiffer punishment if they’re convicted of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. State sentencing guidelines suggest that a defendant go to prison rather than get probation, even if they have little to no criminal record. Additionally, they may be required to register as a violent offender.

Common defenses against assault charges

A defendant accused of assault has numerous possible defenses against the charge. As part of plea negotiations or a criminal trial, some defenses include the following:

If you’ve been charged with assault in Kansas, contact the Koop Law Firm. Jeremy D. Koop has an extensive background in violent crimes cases, both as a former prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. He will provide the vigorous defense you deserve to protect your rights.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

Marijuana Laws in Kansas

Marijuana Laws in Kansas

Marijuana laws across the country come with varying degrees of legalization. However, marijuana is still illegal in the state of Kansas.

While marijuana is the most used drug in the United States, it is illegal to possess marijuana in Kansas for personal use. In addition, it is illegal to sell or distribute marijuana in Kansas. Moreover, possession of marijuana is a crime and even small amounts can result in jail time.

What are the penalties?

Possession and distribution of marijuana come with a variety of penalties depending on several factors. For instance, criminal history and type of marijuana involved. Learn more about the offenses and consequences below.

First-time offense

A first-time offense is a Class B, nonperson misdemeanor. As a result, first-time offenses can carry up to six months in county jail.

Second-time offense

A second-time offense is a Class A, nonperson misdemeanor. This means the conviction is punishable by up to 12 months in county jail in addition to a fine.

Third-time offense

A third-time marijuana conviction is a felony offense and can carry up to 42 months in prison.

Additional consequences

Often, people will get probation with treatment when they’re convicted of a marijuana crime in the state of Kansas. However, this can carry serious implications, like with future employment, for instance.

Consequences are even more serious if you’re facing charges of marijuana distribution, which can result in years in prison.

Contact Koop Law Firm for aggressive representation

If you’re facing marijuana charges, or if you’ve been arrested for a marijuana offense, you have the right to an aggressive defense.

Jeremy D. Koop is a former prosecutor with experience on both sides of the courtroom providing zealous defense. Contact Koop Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with our team who will fight for your rights.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

Preliminary Hearings

Preliminary Hearings

If you’re charged in state court with a felony crime, you likely have the right to a preliminary hearing.

What is a preliminary hearing?

A preliminary hearing is one of the first steps in a criminal case and is a smaller version of a trial. The hearing is in front of a judge instead of a jury. The purpose of this hearing is to determine if there is probable cause that a crime occurred.  Probable cause is a much lower standard of proof than the standard of proof required at trial, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

What to expect at a preliminary hearing

The hearing is a brief court appearance with the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and defendant present.

The prosecutor will call in a few witnesses to determine whether there is enough evidence to show that the case should proceed to trial. While this is not the full jury trial list, there are select witnesses which will testify.

Advantages of preliminary hearings

There are many advantages to moving forward with a preliminary hearing. This hearing is a great opportunity for the defendant to learn what evidence is against them.

Additionally, the defendant and defense attorney will find out what evidence in the case will look like at the trial.

In some cases, witnesses will make mistakes during the preliminary hearing and as a result, those statements can be used against them at the jury trial.

You have the right to a competent lawyer that will fight for your rights

If you’re facing a felony criminal charge in a state court, you are entitled to representation from a competent defense attorney.

Koop Law Firm represents clients facing a variety of criminal charges such as violent crimes, property crimes, DUI & drug crimes, traffic offenses, and more.

If you need representation at your preliminary hearing, contact former prosecutor, Jeremy D. Koop today.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

Murder Charges

Murder Charges

Of all crimes that can be committed, murder is one of the most serious and severely punishable offenses in the United States. However, murder charges are based upon the defendant’s state of mind when committing the crime.

Levels of Murder

The Kansas Statutes outlines the levels of murder one can commit: Capital Murder, Murder in the First Degree, and Murder in the Second Degree.

Capital Murder

Capital murder is the intentional and premeditated killing of a person in conjunction with another crime such as kidnapping, the intentional and premeditated killing of a law enforcement officer, a contract to kill someone, or killing of more than one person in the same scheme.

Penalty for Capital Murder

The sentence upon conviction in Kansas is generally the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Murder in the First Degree

There are two types of murder in the first degree. The first is premediated murder, where the defendant acted intentionally and with premeditation during the murder.

The second type is felony murder, which is committed when a person dies while committing another felony crime.

Penalties for Murder in the First Degree

Generally, the penalty in Kansas is a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 25 years for felony murder and the possibility of parole in 50 years for premeditated murder.

Murder in the Second Degree

There are two types of murder in the second degree. The first is when the defendant acts intentionally during the killing. 

The second type is reckless second-degree murder. This happens when the defendant kills another person unintentionally—but recklessly, and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Penalties for Murder in the Second Degree

The potential penalty for intentional second-degree murder is based upon the defendant’s criminal history, but in Kansas it ranges from 147 months to 653 months in prison. 

The potential penalty for reckless second-degree murder in Kansas varies from 109 to 493 months in prison based upon the defendant’s criminal history.

Former Prosecutor Jeremy D. Koop is on Your Side

If you or a loved one has recently been accused of committing any level of murder, you should contact former Prosecutor Jeremy D. Koop for help. Jeremy has successfully tried murder cases and has an extensive background in violent crimes and complex criminal cases. Most importantly, Jeremy will provide you with the aggressive defense you need when fighting your case.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

Gun Charges Explained

Gun Charges Explained

In general, gun charges cover a broad range of offenses involving a firearm.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

While the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, there are restrictions and limitations.

How can my rights be restricted?

There are a variety of reasons your rights may be specifically restricted. In some situations, it is considered unlawful for an individual to possess a firearm if they do not have a permit. Restrictions also come into play if someone is a convicted felon. Once an individual has been convicted of a felony such as a drug crime, a violent offense, misdemeanor, or domestic violence crimes, they face such restrictions.

To clarify, this restriction may apply for 5 years, 10 years, or as a lifetime prohibition on the possession of firearms. However, it depends on the crime of conviction. In general, the more severe or serious the prior crime, the longer the prohibition period.

Furthermore, when a violent crime is committed with a firearm, the sentence is commonly presumed to be imprisonment and the offender is usually required to register as a violent offender.

Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer to understand your rights

Gun laws vary by state, and there are limitations and restrictions depending on an individual’s background or history. Jeremy Koop can help if you're facing criminal charges due to weapons violations

A felony conviction can carry serious consequences such as prison time and a criminal record that will follow you forever. An experienced attorney like Jeremy D. Koop can help you protect your rights and prepare the best defense possible for your case. Contact us today.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

The Right to a Jury Trial

In the United States, a criminal defendant is guaranteed the right to trial by jury.

What is a Jury Trial?

A jury decides whether the defendant committed the crime. The trial is held in the state where the crimes were allegedly committed.

The right arises out of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

Jury selection process

District courts randomly select citizens’ names from those with driver’s licenses and voter registration lists. Then, those selected complete a questionnaire, and if qualified, they are randomly chosen to be summoned for jury duty. The selection process ensures that jurors are representative of the entire community.

To serve on a jury, jurors are selected by a process known as “voir dire,” which means, “to speak the truth.” Potential jurors are asked a set of questions by the judge and attorneys from both sides. These questions determine whether or not jurors are competent and fit to serve on the jury.

For felony cases, a jury trial requires 12 jurors, and some misdemeanor cases require six jurors. However, all jurors must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your right to a Jury Trial

The right to a jury trial is a fundamental right for anyone accused of a crime. Moreover, it plays a crucial role in the criminal justice system.

Speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at Koop Law Firm for more information on your right to a jury trial and any charges you may be facing.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

What are your Miranda Rights?

What are your Miranda Rights?

As a constitutional right, officers are required to provide Miranda warnings to a detainee once he or she is in the custody of the police.

This requirement to give Miranda warnings comes from the Supreme Court decision, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966). The Miranda warning serves to protect a suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.

The Miranda warning requires officers to inform you of your rights after your arrest and before questioning you. When you are being interrogated, an officer must explain to you that:

  1. You have the right to remain silent.
  2. If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
  3. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
  4. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.

Miranda rights may be worded differently, however, they still should adequately convey the message. Additionally, the officer must ensure that the suspect knows his or her rights.

Regardless of where an interrogation occurs, if a person is in custody the police must read their Miranda rights if they want to ask the suspect questions and use answers at trial.

What if the police don’t read your rights to you?

Having your rights not read by the police does not mean you can escape punishment. However, the prosecutor will not be able to use anything the suspect says as evidence against them. This rule is subject to exceptions, for example, if public safety is at stake.

Miranda rights are complex, and no single article can explain all the specifics. If you are facing a criminal charge, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney like Jeremy D. Koop, J.D., who will explain your rights completely to you.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

The Fourth Amendment

The Constitution defines the Fourth Amendment as, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In layman’s terms, this means that the government (police) must have probable cause to arrest you or reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to detain you. With some limited exceptions, it also means that police must have probable cause to search you, your home, your workplace, or your vehicle. Sometimes a warrant is required and at other times there is an exception to the warrant requirement.

What is probable cause?

Probable cause has been defined by the United States Supreme Court as, “reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man in the belief that the party is guilty of the offense with which he is charged.” Dumbra v. United States, 268 U.S. 435 (1925)

How does law enforcement get probable cause?

Probable cause can be derived from a variety of sources.

Information – statements given by witnesses or victims.

Observation – information gathered by an officer’s inspection or examination.

Sensory – an officer can detect evidence of a crime through sight, sound, or smell.

Expertise – an officer can rely on personal background to evaluate the possibility of criminal activity.

What can law enforcement do under the Fourth Amendment?

Arrest

An arrest can occur when a law enforcement officer uses legal authority to restrict a suspect’s freedom of movement. However, to make an arrest the police must have probable cause.

Detainment

Police must have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has taken place before detaining a person. Detaining someone requires a lower level of proof of criminal activity than probable cause. This is known as reasonable suspicion. The United States Supreme Court lays out the requirements for detention in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

Search warrants

To obtain and initiate a search warrant, an officer must have probable cause. A law enforcement officer must ultimately present an affidavit to a judge or magistrate to obtain a search warrant. However, there are exceptions to these requirements, and many searches can take place without a warrant. For instance, one such exception is for the search for an automobile. This is known as the Carroll doctrine from the United States Supreme Court case Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 (1925). In addition, another exception is search incident to arrest. Under this exception, if police have probable cause to arrest, they can also search the individual being arrested. 

Contact Wichita’s Criminal Defense Attorney

We are a trusted and experienced defense attorney team at Koop Law Firm. If you have been arrested and are facing charges based on a search that was done with or without a warrant, contact us today.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.