When most people think of kidnapping, they picture the situations they’ve seen on TV or in the movies where the child or spouse of a wealthy person is abducted and held until a hefty ransom is paid. Most people who are charged with kidnapping, however, aren’t involved in doing anything that elaborate. Kidnapping charges are, however, very serious.
Indiana law includes various levels of kidnapping charges. They all involve intentionally or knowingly removing someone and taking them someone else by force (or threat of it), enticement or fraud. The lowest level kidnapping charge (Level 6) carries the possibility of 2.5 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
Kidnapping charges are upgraded to higher levels when other elements are involved, such as when:
- A vehicle or airplane is used
- A child who isn’t the perpetrator’s is the victim
- Someone is injured
- A deadly weapon is used
- Ransom is sought
- A vehicle is hijacked
- The victim is used as a human shield
Someone convicted of Level 2 Kidnapping (the highest level) can face up to 30 years in prison.
Confinement offenses aren’t the same as kidnapping. They don’t involve removal of the victim. However, they involve intentionally or knowingly confining them without their consent.
There are also multiple levels of confinement charges based on the same elements as with kidnapping charges. A confinement charge can also land someone behind bars for 30 years.
Sometimes, people use the term “parental kidnapping” when referring to someone who takes their child in violation of a custody order. This is actually a different crime under Indiana law. It’s called “Interference with Custody.” It may involve the taking, detaining or concealing of a minor.
Depending on the age of the child and the circumstances, custodial interference can be a felony or a misdemeanor. In addition to the criminal penalty, a person who is found guilty of custodial interference could lose whatever custody or visitation rights they had.
If you or a loved one is facing any of these charges, it’s essential to understand how serious they are and to seek experienced legal guidance.