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.