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.
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:
- For ransom or as a shield or hostage
- To commit a crime or facilitate flight
- To inflict bodily injury or to terrorize
- To Interfere with a governmental or political function
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.
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:
- Consent: A primary defense against kidnapping charges involves determining whether the victim was actually taken against their will or whether they consented to be with the defendant.
- Lack of injury: While disproving that a victim was injured won’t dismiss a case, it could lower charges from aggravated kidnapping to kidnapping. This could greatly affect the potential punishment.
- No confinement: An attorney may call into question whether the victim was truly confined. For instance, if the door to a room was unlocked or the room had only three walls, the defendant may attest the victim could have left at any time.
- Mistaken identity: As with other charges, mistaken identity is a common defense against kidnapping. For example, if a victim was blindfolded or the suspect wore a mask, an attorney might question whether witnesses correctly identified the defendant.
- Lower the charge: An attorney may argue that prosecutors haven’t proven all the elements of a kidnapping and instead lower the charge to criminal restraint. Because kidnapping is a felony and criminal restraint is a misdemeanor, this could significantly decrease or eliminate their time behind bars.
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.