Kidnapping Penalties as per California Penal Code 207

How is Kidnapping Defined under California Law?

Kidnapping under Penal Code 207 is the act of taking, holding, or detaining a person against their will by applying force or instilling fear.  Under this law, detaining or arresting an individual without having the right may also fall under the category of kidnapping. Kidnapping in California is a serious offense, and a conviction could lead to hefty penalties.

There are two main types of kidnapping offenses in California. Simple kidnapping is when a person is moved a substantial distance without their consent without the use of force or fear. Aggravated kidnapping includes the use of force, fear, or fraud to move another person a substantial distance without their consent.

A person has to move a victim for a substantial distance to be guilty of kidnapping. Among the factors considered in this include; the actual distance which the victim was moved, if moving the victim in that distance made the kidnapper less likely to be caught, or whether moving the victim in that distance posed a risk of harm to the victim. Additionally, a victim has to be moved without their consent. The kidnapper has to apply physical force, threats of physical harm, or fraud.

California child abduction law prohibits people from maliciously trying to keep a child they do not have legal custody over the child’s legal parent or partner. You can be charged with child abduction in addition to kidnapping if the victim is a child whom you do not have legal custody over. Child abduction is also called a wobbler offense meaning that it can either be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a felony, the punishment for child abduction includes up to 4 years in county jail and up to $10,000 fine. A person convicted of child abduction in addition to kidnapping could serve sentences for the two violations consecutively.

California law states that it is illegal to commit extortion by posing as a kidnapper. It is also unlawful to kidnap a person during a carjacking. But for this, a victim must have been moved a substantial distance from the point where the carjacking occurred, and the movement should have posed a risk of harm beyond the dangers of carjacking itself.

A person convicted of kidnapping could face very tough penalties, including the possibility of life imprisonment. Kidnapping penalties depend on if a person is charged with simple or aggravated kidnapping or other specific circumstances of the offense.


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