Kidnapping is a crime with victims that can be adults as well as children. When a child is kidnapped, the parents, relatives and often an entire community are devastated and they try to do anything to get that child returned safely. The child must be absolutely bewildered by this act, and some eventually are murdered by their captors. Adults are also susceptible to being kidnapped. Usually the motive for kidnapping is to obtain money or some other item of value in exchange for return of the kidnapped individual.
Kidnapping Charges & Laws
The basic requirement for a kidnapping charge is that the perpetrator has no authorization to take and confine another person, adult or child, against their will. To prove a charge of kidnapping, violence does not need to be a factor in the event, but there does need to be proof that the victim was held forcibly and imprisoned with the intent to keep them away from their normal course of life. In many cases, the kidnapping is done with intent to draw some item of value to the criminal from others who care for or about the kidnapped individual. Money is frequently the object desired when someone commits a kidnapping crime.
About Kidnapping Charges in Massachusetts
The general area of kidnapping includes a wide range of various crimes and motivations. Due to this, the laws on kidnapping in Massachusetts contain many caveats and directives. The specific language of kidnapping laws is designed to including as many possibilities as possible. This includes scenarios when weapons are used against an abducted person, when the kidnapped person is taken across state lines, if that person is under 18, under 16, or a minor child taken by a parent. It also covers events such as when damage is done to the body of the abducted person in the form of physical or sexual violence.
The worst possible outcome from a kidnapping ends with murder of the kidnapped person, in which case charges would be for murder. State law carefully addresses each of these types of criminal activity. Whatever charges you face for kidnapping, you need legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights and preserve your freedom.
Sentencing for Kidnapping in Massachusetts
Once the state has obtained proof and fulfillment of the requirements to convict on a charge of kidnapping, sentencing will be decided. Several factors enter into this decision that will ultimately determine the extent of imprisonment and fines.
- Age of the person who was kept against their will
- Conditions under which the victim was confined
- Use of deadly weapons to carry out the crime
- Intent of the person who committed the crime
Even within these variables, the sentences handed out to persons convicted of the crime of kidnapping will also vary. In some cases, sentences will include imprisonment in a state penitentiary for a term up to a life sentence. For lesser cases, that prison term could be under 10 years. Financial fines also can vary widely, as they fit the crime accordingly, as do jail terms.
Statistics for Kidnapping
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that more than 260,000 children are kidnapped each year in the United States. Approximately 200,000 of these children are kidnapped by members of their own families. About 60,000 are abducted by strangers or people they are not familiar with. It is reported that of children who are abducted and then murdered, about 74% are dead within three hours of their abduction.
The FBI’s National Crime Information Center reported that in 2001, 840,279 persons were reported missing, and that 85 to 90 percent of those were children. Every 40 seconds a child becomes missing or is abducted. Many of those missing are found quickly. When children are abducted by a stranger, in 80 percent of those cases, the abductor made first contact with the child within a quarter mile of that child’s home. It is no wonder parents are worried about this problem.
It would seem that children taken away by family members might be removed from that family unit, however, only a very small percentage are actually removed from the family. Another sad statistic is that of about 115 incidents where children are removed from the home, 43 of those 115 incidents do end in death.
Criminal Defense – Kidnapping
Kidnapping is a crime that occurs in all sorts of situations, committed by people with a variety of different intentions. It is a crime that does not necessarily involve children, but in some cases one parent takes away a child specifically to anger or punish the other parent by depriving them of their offspring. Again, there are many motives for kidnapping crimes. In some cases, a person just wants to keep another person from leaving a certain location or from going to a place they do not want that person to go to. The courts must consider all factors of a case and this may open the possibility for that suspect to also be charged with additional crimes.
Criminal Defense against kidnapping charges requires help from an experienced attorney who understands all aspects of the Massachusetts laws that relate to this crime. They know how to evaluate the facts of a case and find ways to minimize the potential pitfalls that occur when there are incorrect pleadings and arguments.
If you are accused of kidnapping, or you have already been convicted of this crime, call immediately to arrange for a consultation with an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss your legal concerns or to begin the appeals process.