Kidnapping

KidnappingThe maximum punishments, as well as the defenses that may be available to a defendant charged with kidnapping vary depending on the facts of the case.  There is one constant though, and it’s that this is one of the most serious felony offenses in the entire Maryland criminal code.  If you or a loved one has been charged or is currently under investigation for kidnapping it is absolutely imperative to retain an experienced and aggressive defense attorney.  Over the years, we have seen many examples of false charges for this offense for a variety of reasons.  Police will rarely hesitate to arrest a person for this charge if there is even a hint of evidence, and this is most likely due to the possible fallout if an arrest is not made.  Cops would rather simply close their case and make and arrest, and then let the court system deal with it.  While this type of police behavior is never fair to the defendant, it is just the reality of felonies such as kidnapping, rape, and most sexual offenses.  This is an even harsher of a reality when the case involves a child victim, which makes it all the more important to have a lawyer on your side that knows the ins and outs of the law.  The Herbst Firm is available 24 hours a day to discuss the facts surrounding your case, or the charges facing a loved one.  We can offer a free consultation and assess the best possible options to pursue.

The Maryland code divides the kidnapping laws into two categories, one involving child victims, and the other involving all other victims.  Child kidnapping is a crime with specific elements that the state must prove, but keep in mind that the use of violence or force is not a required element of this crime.  It is illegal to forcibly abduct, take, or carry away a child under the age of 12 from his or her home or to take the child under 12 away from his or her parents or legal guardian.  It is also illegal to take a child away from anyone who has lawful custody or car of that child, which is typically relevant when the child is in school or day care.  Additionally, it is a crime under this law to knowingly harbor a child that has been taken from his or her home or from the parents.  In other words a defendant does not necessarily have to participate in the taking of a child to be guilty of kidnapping.  

This section of the statute now also protects children under the age of 16 using the same provisions.  A defendant who is convicted of taking a child away from his or her home faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, while a defendant who takes a child from the custody and control of his or her parents faces a maximum 30-year sentence.  If the crime was committed in the same course of conduct with a rape or first-degree sexual offense, and the defendant is convicted of both crimes, he or she faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.  For any such case, the prosecutor must file a notice of intent to seek like without parole within 30 days of the trial.  The adult kidnapping statute has a 30-year maximum sentence as well, but does not include the enhancement for a contemporaneous sexual offense.
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