What is Considered Kidnapping in Arizona?
There are several misconceptions concerning what is considered kidnapping. This ranges from the perception that it refers to taking only children out of their will because it needs to be a planned job.
Most kidnaps are never really done with much fanfare. They are definitely not usually planned by a group of people, huddled over a spread-out map in a dimly lit room. Kidnapping is mostly an unplanned, spur of the moment decision.
What is Kidnapping?
In Criminal Law, kidnapping is commonly defined as taking a person from one place to another against their will or the confinement of a person to a controlled space.
Although every state in the U.S. criminalizes kidnapping, each state’s laws define the crime differently. According to the Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1304, a kidnapping is said to have occurred when an individual intentionally holds a person against his or her will for the purpose of:
- Unlawfully taking control of a vehicle
- Holding the victim for ransom
- Using the victim as a hostage or shield
- Unlawfully forcing the victim into servitude
- Creating fear of bodily harm to the victim
- Having the victim assist him or her in the commission of a felony
- Committing a sexual offense
It should be noted that under Arizona law, attempting to move or hide an alleged kidnap victim is not necessarily part of the kidnapping.
Kidnapping Degrees in Arizona
Kidnapping is divided into different levels of severity: a class two, three, or four felony. To be charged with a class two felony, the defendant must have involuntarily released the victim, sexually assaulted the victim, or forced the victim to commit a felony. More offenses that classify kidnapping as a class two felony are detailed in Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1304.
Sometimes, a kidnapping charge might be classified as a third-degree felony. This occurs when the individual inflicted no harm on the victim and negotiates the terms of release with the authorities before releasing the victim.
Other times, a kidnapping charge might be minor and classified as a class four felony. In such cases, the individual must have ensured that the victim was released safely to a safe place. The defendant must also not have subjected the victim to any sexual abuse/harassment, physical harm, ransom demands, or other offenses specified in Arizona’s Criminal Laws.
Defenses to Kidnapping
There are several legal defenses to kidnapping. A defense lawyer can argue that:
- The alleged victim consented to be moved or to accompany the defendant.
- The defendant did not intend to use deadly force.
- The kidnapping was a mistake or was caused by ignorance.
- The defendant was suffering from a mental disease or insanity when the crime was being committed.
Speak to a Defense Attorney at Pinal Criminal Defense
Kidnapping is a serious crime that carries severe consequences. Not only could a defendant spend time in jail for this crime, but a kidnapping charge not well-handled can also come with social stigma. If you are facing kidnapping charges, you should speak to a lawyer at Pinal Criminal Defense. Our Criminal Defense Attorneys who understand criminal laws in Arizona will advise you on how best to proceed with your defense. They will also ensure that you get the best representation possible in court. Give us a call now!