Recently, a kidnapping case outside of Atlanta made national news when the suspected kidnapper led police on a car chase through Marietta, Georgia that ended in a head-on collision with another vehicle. The kidnapping victim, who alleges that the suspect kidnapped and sexually assaulted her, escaped by locking herself in the bathroom of a gas station convenience store and yelling for help. At which time, the convenience store clerk dialed 911 and the alleged kidnapper took off into traffic engaging in the aforementioned police chase.
Kidnapping In Washington State
In Washington, state law classifies kidnapping into two categories: first degree and second degree.
A person in Washington State is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree if he or she intentionally abducts another person with the intent of the following:
- To hold him or her for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage; or
- To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or
- To inflict bodily injury on him or her; or
- To inflict extreme mental distress on him, her, or a third person; or
- To interfere with the performance of any governmental function.
Kidnapping in the first-degree charge is a class A felony if convicted.
A person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree if he or she intentionally abducts another person, but under circumstances not amounting to those which classify kidnapping in the first degree. Further, in any prosecution for kidnapping in the second degree, if the defendant can establish by a preponderance of evidence, the following may be used as a defense:
- That the abduction did not include the use of, or intent to use, or threat to use deadly force; and
- The actor is a relative of the person abducted; and
- The actor's sole intent is to assume custody of that person.
Kidnapping in the second degree is a class B felony unless found to have sexual motivation, as is alleged in the case in Georgia, at which time it may potentially elevate to a class A felony.
Kidnapping Or Something Else?
There are several nuances to parse through if you have been arrested for kidnapping. For example, taking your own child away from the person with lawful custody still constitutes “kidnapping” and you could be charged with “custodial interference” in the first or second degree. Knowing the differences between kidnapping and “unlawful imprisonment” are especially important in terms of potential penalties. Kidnapping charges are hard to fight, especially those involving children, even if you believe you are innocent you need to seek legal counsel immediately.
To learn more about kidnapping, the penalties related, and how to best defend yourself against these charges, visit the Law Offices of Steve Karimi. Mr. Karimi was named a “rising star” in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his knowledge and insight into prosecution strategies to protect your rights in criminal court. Let Steve Karimi's extensive experience as a former prosecutor work for you.