Kidnapping does not always mean that someone has been taken and held for ransom. A number of actions may constitute kidnapping. If you’re facing this charge, you must contact – at once – a Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney who has experience handling kidnapping cases.
How is kidnapping defined by the law in Ohio? What is the legal distinction in this state between kidnapping and abduction? If you’re charged with one of these crimes, what are your rights, and what steps will you need to take?
If you’ll keep reading this brief discussion of kidnapping and abduction in Ohio, these questions will be answered, and you will also learn how a Delaware Ohio kidnapping lawyer will defend you against a kidnapping or abduction charge.
What Is Ohio’s Kidnapping Law?
KIDNAPPING is taking someone against that person’s will to another location or depriving someone of his or her liberty. If you take someone to another location by using threats, force, or deception, or if the victim is mentally incompetent or under age 13, it constitutes kidnapping.
Every year in the U.S., thousands of children are abducted by a parent and taken to another state or even out of the country. Taking a child from his or her custodial parent and across a state line is a federal crime. Kidnapping also includes using threats, force, or deception to hold someone:
- for ransom
- as a shield or hostage
- to facilitate a different crime
- to terrorize or intimidate another person
If a kidnapping in Ohio is charged as a first-degree felony, a conviction may be punished with a three-to-eleven-year prison term and a fine of up to $20,000. A second-degree kidnapping conviction may be penalized with a two-to-eight year prison term and a fine of up to $15,000
What’s the Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction?
Ohio law defines ABDUCTION as the removal of a person to another location by force, threat, or restraint, or forcing a person into involuntary servitude. If the state does not believe it can prove a kidnapping charge, you may be charged with abduction, a second- or third-degree felony.
A conviction for abduction charged as a third-degree felony can result in a prison sentence of up to five years, along with a fine of up to $10,000. A conviction for abduction charged as a second-degree felony may be penalized with up to eight years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
If you tried to remove a person to another location, or if you tried to restrain someone’s liberty, and you did not fully succeed, you could be charged with attempted abduction as a third- or fourth-degree felony.
Could You Be Ordered to Register as a Sex Offender?
If a kidnapping or abduction was sexually motivated, a convicted assailant may have to register as a sex offender. Unlawful restraint with sexual motivation is a Tier I sex offense. A conviction for unlawful restraint with sexual motivation requires registration every year for fifteen years.
Abduction with a sexual motive and kidnapping with a sexual motive are Tier II sex offenses. An assailant who is convicted of abduction or kidnapping with a sexual motive will be ordered to register as a sex offender every six months for twenty-five years.
The kidnapping of a minor committed with a sexual motive – and the kidnapping of a minor if you are not the child’s parent – are Tier III offenses that require registration as a sex offender every ninety days for life and the notification of residents in your community.
What Are the “Extra-Legal” Penalties for Kidnapping and Abduction?
Formal criminal penalties are only one aspect of a conviction for KIDNAPPING or ABDUCTION. Any felony conviction could follow you for years, appear on background checks, and make it difficult for you to obtain employment, housing, loans, or to attend certain colleges and universities.
If you hold a professional license in Ohio, a felony conviction will almost certainly trigger disciplinary action by your professional licensing board. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, a felony conviction could put you at risk for removal (deportation).
What Is False Imprisonment?
The law in Ohio defines FALSE IMPRISONMENT as the unlawful restraint of another person and the deprivation of that person’s liberty (meaning that person’s mobility and freedom) without that person’s consent.
Restraining someone’s liberty may include locking someone in a room or a building against that person’s will. If the victim is unable to leave the room or building freely, it’s false imprisonment.
False imprisonment is charged as a third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, and it is punishable upon conviction with up to sixty days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
What Are the Defenses Against Kidnapping, Abduction, and False Imprisonment?
Taking a child from the custodial parent without authorization, even if you are the other parent, could lead to a serious kidnapping or abduction charge. Even if you believe that you have the best intentions as a parent, don’t do it. Instead, talk to a lawyer about your legal options.
If you’ve taken a child without consent or authorization from the custodial parent, the fact that you are the child’s other parent is not an accepted legal defense in Ohio against a kidnapping or abduction charge. It doesn’t matter if your intentions were well-meaning and innocent.
What other defenses might an Ohio criminal defense attorney offer on your behalf against a kidnapping or abduction charge?
- The alleged victim consented to going with you and was not forced or threatened.
- Another person committed the kidnapping or abduction, and you’ve been misidentified.
- No kidnapping or abduction took place, and the allegation against you was fabricated.
After reviewing the facts and details of the charge against you, an Ohio kidnapping lawyer will develop an aggressive, effective defense strategy that will bring your case to its best possible conclusion.
When Should You Contact a Kidnapping Attorney?
If you are taken into police custody and charged with kidnapping, abduction, attempted abduction, or false imprisonment, exercise your rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to have your attorney present for any questioning.
Do not resist the police. Be friendly and cooperative, but insist on your rights. You might say something like, “I would prefer to exercise my right to remain silent until my attorney can be present.” Remember, anything you say to the police WILL use against you.
If you’re charged with kidnapping or abduction in the Columbus area or anywhere in Ohio, reach out at once to a Delaware, Ohio criminal defense lawyer for the sound advice and aggressive representation that you will very much need. Your freedom and your future will depend on it.