kidnapping (law)

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Kidnapping is a criminal offense that involves the unlawful and intentional taking or confinement of another person, against their will, by force or threat of force, deception, or other means.

Kidnapping is considered a serious crime because it violates an individual’s fundamental right to liberty and can cause significant physical and emotional harm.

In the criminal law context, kidnapping is generally defined by state law and may vary somewhat from state to state. In most jurisdictions, however, the basic elements of kidnapping include:

      1. The unlawful taking or confinement of another person;
      2. The act was done by force, fraud, or threat of injury to the person or property of the victim or any other person;
      3. The taking or confinement was done against the will of the victim; and
      4. The act was done with the intent to:

a. Hold the victim for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage;

b. Facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the commission of a felony;

c. Inflict bodily injury, terrorize the victim, or interfere with a government or political function.

The severity of a kidnapping offense varies based on the circumstances surrounding the crime, such as whether a deadly weapon was used, whether the victim was injured, and how long the victim was held.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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