Introduction to Federal and New York Kidnapping Law

Federal and New York Kidnapping Law

Clients charged with kidnapping or other criminal offenses are represented by the best criminal defense team, which includes both New York and federal prosecutions.

Particularly when the offender has allegedly abducted the victim-witness and transferred him or her across state borders, federal charges are often brought.

The word kidnap has an interesting but enigmatic origin. ‘Nap’ is most likely a corruption of the word ‘nab,’ which means to seize or capture. Child, as in a newborn goat, is what “kid” has meant for centuries. As a result, the word “kidnapping” originally referred to the practice of kidnapping children and transporting them to America to labor on plantations.

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A commonality among all of the crimes listed in Article 135 of the New York Penal Law is the interference with the victim’s liberty, either by restricting his movements or transporting him to a place he does not want to go, or by preventing his participation in activities he has a right not to participate in.

These crimes range in severity from class A misdemeanors to class A-I felonies, depending on variables such as the purpose for which the restraint is done, the duration of the restraint, and the degree of force used to accomplish it. One of the most complicated legal concerns that arises in these cases is when unlawful incarceration or kidnapping is combined with an underlying crime such as rape or robbery.

When a person restrains another person, he commits unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor. [FN1] The first degree of the offence, a class E felony, is committed with the added element that the constraint occur under circumstances that expose the victim to a substantial physical injury risk.

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“Restrain” is defined as “restricting a person’s movements intentionally and unlawfully in such a way as to substantially interfere with his liberty by moving him from one place to another, or confining him in the place where the restraint begins or in a place to which he has been moved, without consent and with knowledge that the restriction is unlawful.”

A victim is restrained “without consent” if the restraint “is accomplished by (a) physical force, intimidation, or deception; or (b) by any means whatsoever, including the victim’s acquiescence, if he is a child under the age of sixteen or an incompetent person, and the parent, guardian, or other person or institution having lawful control or custody of him has not acquiesced in the movement.

Because the basic offense requires the offender to have the intent to restrain, defendants who thought they were transporting a dead body could not be found guilty of restraint.