Philadelphia Kidnapping Defense Attorney
Kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes in Pennsylvania. If you have been charged with kidnapping in Philadelphia, not only are you facing lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines – in addition, having a kidnapping felony on your record can make it difficult to take advantage of life’s opportunities, such as finding a job or applying for a loan toward a car or a house. Between prison time, criminal fines, restitution, and the consequences of having a felony record, a kidnapping conviction can have devastating effects on your future. If you have been arrested for kidnapping in Philadelphia, you need urgent legal help from an aggressive defense lawyer.
Criminal attorney Lloyd Long, founder of the Law Offices of Lloyd Long, is a highly experienced former prosecutor who is qualified to handle misdemeanor and felony cases in state and federal court. With a record of success in representing defendants accused of violent felonies, Lloyd Long understands how to develop hard-hitting legal strategies in even the most challenging of cases. Let him put this experience to work defending your case. For a free legal consultation about kidnapping charges in Pennsylvania, contact us online or call (215) 302-0171 today.
Types of Kidnapping Charges in PA
Kidnapping is a crime under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2901. For a defendant to be found guilty of kidnapping, the prosecutor needs to show that certain facts and details, called “elements” of the offense, are true. First, the prosecutor needs to show that one of the following statements applies to the defendant:
- The defendant moved the victim by “a substantial distance” from the place where the victim was found.
- The defendant illegally confined the victim in an isolated place “for a substantial period” of time.
Then, the prosecutor needs to show the defendant’s intent, which means proving that the defendant wanted to accomplish one of the following goals:
- Collecting a ransom/reward, or holding the victim as a hostage.
- Making it easier to commit, or flee from, a felony.
- Injuring or terrorizing the victim or a different person (such as the victim’s parent).
- Interfering with government functions or a political process.
Other than kidnapping, there are also several related offenses that a person can be charged with. Some of these offenses are more serious than others, which means that criminal penalties can vary from case to case. However, most kidnapping-related charges are felonies with potential for years in prison. Penalties for kidnapping in Pennsylvania are explained in the next section.
Many people assume that kidnapping involves a stranger luring a victim into their vehicle. In reality, many kidnapping cases revolve around a family that is going through a difficult divorce. One parent can be charged with a crime called “custodial interference,” or “interference with custody of children,” if he or she violates the family court’s child custody orders by attempting to take the child from the other parent. The statute 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2904 makes custodial interference a crime. Other kidnapping-related offenses we handle at the Law Offices of Lloyd Long include:
- Criminal coercion (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2906)
- False imprisonment (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2903)
- Kidnapping a minor (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2901(a.1))
- Luring a child into a vehicle or structure (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2910)
- Unlawful restraint (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2902)
Kidnapping Sentence in PA
Kidnapping is generally a first degree felony, which is the most serious type of crime other than murder, regardless of whether the victim is an adult or a minor. The maximum penalty for a first degree felony in Pennsylvania is 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. However, these penalties can be enhanced (increased) in certain kidnapping cases.
Unlawful restraint is generally a first degree misdemeanor, which carries maximum penalties of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines. However, if the victim is under 18, unlawful restraint is a second degree felony, subject to maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
False imprisonment is typically a second degree misdemeanor, which can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of two years. If the victim is 17 or younger, the crime becomes a second degree felony, exposing the defendant to a maximum sentence of 10 years and fines up to $25,000.
Custodial interference is typically a third degree felony, which has a maximum sentence of seven years and a maximum fine of $15,000. However, there are some cases where the offense is treated as a second degree felony, increasing the sentence by up to three years while increasing the fine by up to $10,000.
Criminal coercion is generally second degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine and sentence of $5,000 and two years respectively. In some instances, however, criminal coercion is a first degree misdemeanor, which increases the maximum fine by $5,000 while increasing the maximum sentence by three years.
Contact Philadelphia Kidnapping Defense Lawyer Lloyd Long for a Free Consultation
At the Law Offices of Lloyd Long, our legal team has the comprehensive understanding of Pennsylvania laws and court proceedings to help you navigate through any complexities you may encounter in your case. Philadelphia kidnapping attorney Lloyd Long can listen to your side of the story, investigate the circumstances of the alleged crime, and develop a strong and customized defense strategy on your behalf. To talk confidentially in a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online, or call (215) 302-0171 seven days a week, 24 hours a day for help.