Kidnapping is the crime of taking a person from one place to another against their will. Sometimes it is done to extort ransom from the family of the person kidnapped. It may be done for the purpose of committing an additional crime, for example a sexual assault, or may involve a dispute over the custody of a child.
Nevada has two categories of kidnapping charges kidnapping: first degree and second degree kidnapping.
First Degree Kidnapping
First Degree Kidnapping will be charged as a Category A felony if the kidnapped person is physically harmed in any significant way—during the act of kidnapping, while being held by the kidnapper, or while trying to escape.
Nevada statute defines First Degree Kidnapping as occurring when a person “willfully seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away a person,” planning to do one of the following:
- Hold the victim for ransom
- Commit sexual assault, extortion, or robbery on the victim
- Kill the victim
- Physically harm the victim
- Perpetrate an unlawful act upon a minor victim
Possible First Degree Kidnapping Penalties
- Life in prison with no possibility of parole
- Life with the possibility of parole after serving at least fifteen years
- Forty years with possibility of parole after serving at least fifteen years
Second Degree Kidnapping
All other kidnappings—those lacking the specific intentions listed above and where the victim isn’t harmed—are charged as Second Degree Kidnapping and are Category B felonies. Second Degree Kidnapping is a Category B felony and has less severe penalties. A Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who knows the law will review your case and discuss the differences with you.
Penalties for Second Degree Kidnapping
- Two to fifteen years in prison
- Fine of up to $15,000
Kidnapping with a Deadly Weapon
If a deadly weapon is used in the course of the kidnapping, the penalties are increased by an additional one to twenty years in prison without early parole. It is critical that you hire a defense lawyer as soon as you discover or suspect that you will be facing a kidnapping charge, especially if you’re being accused of kidnapping with a deadly weapon. Because the potential sentence is so harsh, you will need an attorney who knows the Nevada statutes and decisions in prior cases with similar legal issues.
Child Custody Kidnapping
Child Custody Kidnapping, when a parent, guardian, or other custodial family member has taken their own child, is a category D felony. Even if the child went willingly, it could be considered kidnapping, punishable by
- 1-4 years in prison
- Fine of up to $5,000
In Child Custody Kidnapping, the prosecutor may, in the interest of justice, ask the judge to drop the charge to a misdemeanor, as long as this is the first child custody offense and the child suffered no significant harm. Misdemeanor Child Custody Kidnapping is punishable by
- Up to six months in jail
- Fine up to $1,000
False imprisonment is when the victim has the perception that he or she is confined to some area and cannot leave. It occurs when one person unlawfully violates another person’s personal liberty by confining or detaining the person without the legal authority to do so.
False imprisonment penalties depend on the situation. False imprisonment without using a deadly weapon is a gross misdemeanor and can come with a sentence of up to a year in jail, along with up to $2,000 in fines; however if a deadly weapon was used, it becomes a Category B felony and can get you a sentence of one to six years in prison.
Using a Person as a Human Shield
If you are accused of committing false imprisonment by using the alleged victim to avoid arrest or as a shield, it is a Category B felony with a potential prison sentence of one to fifteen years.
Top Notch Kidnapping Defense in Las Vegas
Clearly you’ve got a lot to lose if you’re convicted of a serious kidnapping crime; but you may be able to have the charges dismissed, avoid conviction altogether, or have the charges reduced in a plea bargain agreement. Your options will depend on the circumstances, but you can be assured that Ben Nadig will leave no stone unturned when looking for the most effective defense. He will examine police procedure for violations of your rights, such as an illegal search, which could result in suppression of evidence, will challenge witnesses and the quality of the evidence, and will introduce mitigating factors that could result in a lesser sentence. This is not a time to accept an overworked public defender.
Contact the law office of Ben Nadig in Las Vegas immediately if police try to question you or arrest you, and don’t answer any questions until he arrives. An arrest is not a conviction, and Ben will do all he can to try to see that it doesn’t become one.