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What is the Difference Between Criminal Confinement & Kidnapping?

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The difference between a crime that involves confinement and kidnapping is in the details of the offense. Simply put, while kidnapping involves confinement, criminal confinement may not involve kidnapping.

Criminal confinement is the act of holding someone without their consent. Kidnapping is the act of unlawfully abducting, confining, or removing another against their will or while holding them for ransom.

To complicate the criminal acts more, there are also statutory parental kidnapping offenses that can be brought against a parent, directed person or relative without any type of abduction taking place.

At Lotze Mosley LLP, our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys know that kidnapping charges may be brought before a D.C. court or as a matter of federal law, depending on the severity and circumstances of the case.

If you have been charged with kidnapping, our criminal defense team will help you build the best defensive strategy available based on your unique situation.

What Are the Kidnapping Charges Under Washington D.C. Laws?

Kidnapping is a felony offense under Washington D.C. criminal law.

Kidnapping charges can be brought against anyone who commits any of the following acts concerning another person for ransom, reward, or otherwise:

  • Abduction
  • Carrying away
  • Concealment
  • Confinement
  • Decoying
  • Detaining
  • Enticement
  • Luring
  • Kidnapping
  • Seizure

If a second person assists in these actions, each party may be charged with kidnapping. If two or more people assist in the kidnapping, the offense can be upgraded to include conspiracy charges.

Kidnapping is a Class A felony, and if convicted, the individual could face:

  • Up to 30 years in prison
  • Up to $75,000 fine

What Are the Kidnapping Charges Under Federal Laws?

The most common circumstance of kidnapping being charged as a federal offense is when the kidnapped individual is transported across state lines.

The federal statute goes one step further in presuming the kidnapped person has been transported across state lines or into international territory if he or she is not released within 24 hours.

Other instances of kidnapping charges being brought on a federal level include:

  • If the kidnapper uses the mail in connection with the offense
  • If the person kidnapped is a federal or foreign official
  • If the crime occurs on an aircraft or at sea in U.S. waters

Kidnapping is punishable under federal law and the individual could face:

  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • Mandatory 20-year prison sentence when the abducted person is 18 years old or younger and was kidnapped by someone 18 or older who is not a legal guardian or family member
  • Conspiracy to commit kidnapping is punishable by any term of years or life in prison

What Are the Parental Kidnapping Laws in Washington D.C.?

Parental kidnapping laws in Washington D.C. are very different from criminal kidnapping charges in the District.

A person may be charged with parental kidnapping when:

  • A parent hides a child from their other parent
  • Any relative takes and/or hides a child from their guardian without valid justification
  • Someone taking directions from a parent hides a child from the other parent

The penalties involved in parental kidnapping vary depending on the circumstances of the case but are still very serious. If the child remains inside the District of Columbia, the charges could remain a misdemeanor offense. If the child is taken outside of D.C., they become felony charges.

Partner with an Experienced Washington D.C. Kidnapping Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter the circumstances of your kidnapping arrest, you are going to need an experienced criminal defense attorney to collect, preserve, and present the proper evidence to build a strong defense on your behalf.

Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP today to learn more about how we can protect your rights throughout the legal process by calling (202) 393-0535 today to schedule a consultation.


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