Whether it stems from a misunderstanding or alleged malicious intent, being accused of abduction or kidnapping can have serious repercussions in Virginia. Even a first-time offender may face felony-level consequences upon conviction, and several circumstances could lead to penalties being even more severe than usual.
When you face allegations of abduction or kidnapping, you should prioritize contacting a capable defense attorney to discuss possible defense strategies. Once retained, your qualified Virginia kidnapping lawyer could work diligently to ensure your rights are respected and pursue the best possible resolution to your unique case.
The Code of Virginia uses the terms “kidnapping” and “abduction” interchangeably. These terms refer to someone using intimidation, deception, or force to detain, transport, or otherwise seize control of another person to restrict that person’s physical liberty, conceal them from a third person lawfully entitled to have them in their custody, or subject them to forced labor. Notably, this type of act only qualifies as a crime if the perpetrator has no “legal justification or excuse” for their actions, which means law enforcement officers acting within their legally assigned duties cannot be charged with kidnapping.
According to VA Code § 18.2-47, the basic form of abduction defined above is considered a Class 5 felony. Penalties upon conviction could include one to 10 years in prison or, at the discretion of the court, a maximum 12-month jail term and a $2,500 fine. However, abduction of someone by that person’s parent is a Class 1 misdemeanor unless the defendant takes the abducted person outside the state of Virginia, in which case it becomes a Class 6 felony. Guidance from a Virginia kidnapping attorney can be vital to understanding and fighting charges of this nature.
Abducting any person intending to extort money or any other benefit is a Class 2 felony in Virginia, meaning convicted parties could face a minimum 20-year prison term up to a maximum of life in prison, plus a $100,000 fine. Kidnapping someone with intent to “defile” them, subject them to forced prostitution, or to manufacture child pornography may also face prosecution for a Class 2 felony. Upon conviction, a person would face a mandatory 40-year suspended prison sentence in addition to any active sentence imposed upon them unless the initial sentence is life imprisonment.
Someone confined in any jail or juvenile detention center who escapes from confinement unlawfully and, while on the run, abducts or takes any person hostage has committed a Class 3 felony punishable after a conviction by five to 20 years of imprisonment and a maximum $100,000 fine. Additionally, as a kidnapping attorney in Virginia could further explain, any person who attempts or threatens to abduct or assists with abducting someone else with the intent to extort money or engage in any “immoral purpose” described above may face penalties commensurate with a Class 5 felony.
Accusations that you kidnapped another person, especially a minor, are extremely serious matters in Virginia. Retaining capable legal representation should be your top priority when you have been formally accused or are under investigation for this type of offense.
A qualified Virginia kidnapping lawyer could provide the custom-tailored support you need to achieve the best possible resolution to your case. Call today for a consultation.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law