If you’ve been accused of kidnapping, you have reason to be scared. You may not know what the penalties for kidnapping in Delaware are, but you should know that they are very harsh. In a worst-case scenario, they could land you in prison for the rest of your life.
That’s why it is important to be informed, and also to speak with an experienced kidnapping lawyer right away so they can help you with your defense. In the meantime, read on for more details about kidnapping and the penalties for it, as well as how it is handled in the Ohio Code.
What Exactly Is Kidnapping?
Kidnapping is defined as restraining someone and taking them against their will from wherever they were located, and coercing them to stay in a different location by holding them captive. This can be done by force, by threat of force or by deception.
There are different kinds of people that can be victims of kidnappings, from small children all the way to adults. But the most common victims are young, often in their teens, and the majority are females.
The problem with kidnapping is that kidnapping cases can sometimes involve false accusations or misunderstandings, sometimes even alleged misunderstandings, particularly in child custody situations. These actions can easily land an innocent person in court.
And that can make it a very serious situation for the accused. Their life as they know it will be in great jeopardy. In fact, anyone who is accused of kidnapping will find themselves in a precarious situation since it is such a serious crime.
In Ohio, it is considered a class one felony. In some cases, when the victim is released unharmed, it can also be treated as a class two felony.
What Are the Penalties for Kidnapping?
As a class one felony, kidnapping carries a penalty of three to eleven years in prison, and a fine of up to $20,000. If it is judged to be a class two felony, it carries a penalty of two to eight years in prison, plus a fine of up to $10,000.
However, various circumstances can increase the potential penalties. For example, if the victim was a child under the age of thirteen and the offender also had a sexual motivation, the penalties increase to an indefinite term in prison, with a minimum of fifteen years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
Are There Additional Ramifications in Connection with a Conviction?
The person’s challenges don’t end with the prison sentence, except in cases of life imprisonment. After the convicted kidnapper gets out of prison, life will be extremely difficult. The sentence is a matter of public record and will stay there. So whenever the person applies for a job, he or she has to answer the question about felony convictions, and that may well be the end of most job prospects.
Moreover, it will even be difficult to find housing, not only due to the conviction on the person’s record, but also for financial reasons. It will be virtually impossible to get credit or a mortgage, and without a good job, most people will find it extremely challenging to come up with first and last month’s rent.
Who Must Register as a Sex Offender?
And yet, there’s more. If there was a sexual component in the kidnapping case, the person will have to register as a sex offender, and will have to reregister in regular intervals. The length of the intervals and the time for which they must register vary depending on the specifics of the case,
Kidnapping with a sexual motivation falls into the tier 2 range, which requires registration every 180 days for 25 years. Kidnapping of a minor by someone other than a parent, with or without sexual motivation, falls into tier 3 and requires registration every 90 days for the rest of the person’s life.
In addition, anyone in tiers 2 and 3 will be included in Ohio’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification database, which can be accessed by anyone who wants to look up a sex offender online.
How Can a Kidnapping Defense Attorney Help?
If you’re facing an accusation for kidnapping, it’s crucial to seek out all the help you can get. Being faced with the possibility of life behind bars or the other severe forms of punishment makes that absolutely essential. Be sure to find an attorney with plenty of experience with kidnapping cases.
How can your attorney help? Remember that the court must prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that any evidence that can throw doubt on the accusation will weaken the prosecution’s case.
As we mentioned above, there are a lot of cases where someone is falsely accused of kidnapping. This can happen especially in custody case scenarios.
What If Things Look Bad?
Even if things look bad, your lawyer will know strategies that can improve the situation. Details can be disputed, and that can lower any possible sentence or even the likelihood of conviction. In a worst-case scenario, the accusation could be downgraded from kidnapping to abduction, which comes with a lesser sentence.
An experienced attorney has handled thousands of cases and will know how to help you with your situation. Just be sure to speak to a lawyer right away, and do NOT speak to the police without your attorney, except to insist that you won’t say anything without your attorney present.
We have the kind of experience that can help you. So if you have any questions or are dealing with a kidnapping accusation, please get in touch with us right away. We have made it our mission to help our clients. And we’ll do our best to help you.