As a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I defend those who have been accused of committing the crime of kidnapping. In Pennsylvania, a conviction for kidnapping can result in serious consequences including prison time and other penalties. In this article, I explain the crime of kidnapping in Pennsylvania, the penalties for kidnapping, and what to do if you’re accused of kidnapping.
Pennsylvania Statutory Definition of Kidnapping
Kidnapping as defined under Title 18 Chapter 29:
…a person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another a substantial distance under the circumstances from the place where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of isolation, with any of the following intentions:
(1) To hold for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage.
(2) To facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter.
(3) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another.
(4) To interfere with the performance by public officials of any governmental or political function.
What are the Degrees of Kidnapping Under Pennsylvania Law?
First Degree Kidnapping
The removal or confinement…accomplished by force, threat or deception, or, in the case of an incapacitated person, if it is accomplished without the consent of a parent, guardian or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.
The removal or confinement …accomplished by force, threat or deception, or, in the case of a person under 14 years of age, if it is accomplished without consent of a parent, guardian or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.
Second Degree Kidnapping
[The kidnapper] …not being a parent or person in equivalent relation to the child, acted with knowledge that his conduct would cause serious alarm for the safety of the child, or in reckless disregard of a likelihood of causing such alarm. In such cases, the offense shall be a felony of the second degree.
Third Degree Kidnapping
A person, other than a member of the family or an intermediary of the family of a person held for ransom, who knowingly receives, retains or disposes of any money or other property of another knowing that the money or other property constitutes a ransom derived from an offense under this chapter, or has reason to believe that such money or other property is ransom derived from an offense under this chapter, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
What are the Penalties for Kidnapping in Pennsylvania?
- First-degree. A prison sentence of up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
- Second-degree. A prison sentence of up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines
- Third-degree. A prison sentence of not more than seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
What Should I Do If I Am Accused of Kidnapping?
If you are accused of kidnapping, do NOT discuss what happened with the police even if it is to claim that you’re innocent. Like other criminal charges, you shouldn’t talk to law enforcement or prosecutors without having your own attorney present. So, if a police officer tries to question you, ask to speak to a lawyer and politely refuse to answer any questions.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney for Kidnapping Charges
If you’ve been accused of the crime of kidnapping, contact me today for a FREE consultation. I’ll review your case to determine what defenses there may be to your charge such as whether the fire was accidental, whether there is a question of damage, or whether there is an issue of mistaken identity.