Chicago kidnapping defense lawyer
Kidnapping is a serious crime that can be prosecuted as a felony under state or federal law. In the most general sense, kidnapping refers to the taking of another person without their consent and holding them forcibly against their will. When an individual is kidnapped and transported across state lines, this can trigger a federal charge. Kidnapping charges can overlap with charges for other criminal acts including robbery, sexual assault, rape, battery or even murder. If you’ve been implicated in a kidnapping scheme, hiring a Chicago criminal attorney is vital to defending your rights.
Kidnapping and unlawful restraint charges
The Illinois Compiled Statutes defines what constitutes kidnapping and similar crimes under state law.
According to the statute, a person is guilty of committing the offense of kidnapping if he or she knowingly:
- Secretly confines another person against their will
- Uses force or the threat of force to transport someone from one place to another with the intent of confining them against their will
- Uses deceit or enticement to induce someone to go from one place to another with the intent of secretly confining them
- Confines a child under the age of 13 or an individual of any age with severe intellectual disability against their will and without the consent of their parent or guardian
What is aggravated kidnapping?
Aggravated kidnapping is an elevated charge that involves a specific set of circumstances. You can be charged with aggravated kidnapping if it’s determined that you intended to hold the victim for ransom; the victim was under the age of 13 or was severely mentally disabled; you concealed your identity to commit the kidnapping; the kidnapping was committed while armed with a dangerous weapon; the victim suffered great bodily harm; or another felony was committed during the course of the kidnapping.
What is unlawful restraint?
Unlawful restraint is the intentional detaining of another person without legal authority. If someone is unlawfully restrained with the use of a weapon, the charge can be elevated to aggravated unlawful restraint.
While the vast majority of kidnapping cases that make headlines involve the taking of someone by a stranger, statistically more kidnappings are actually committed by someone the victim knows. In many cases, a non-custodial parent may be charged with kidnapping for engaging in actions that violate the terms of their custody or visitation agreement. If you’re a parent who’s been accused of kidnapping in Illinois, your Chicago criminal defense lawyer can help you to build the strongest defense possible.
The law behind federal kidnapping
Federal law categorizes kidnapping as a violent crime. Under the U.S. Code Title 18, Section 1201, kidnapping is defined as the unlawful seizure, confinement, kidnapping, abduction or taking of a person in order to hold them against their will in exchange for ransom. The victim must be transported across state lines or outside of the U.S. for the kidnapping to constitute a federal crime. If the victim is not returned within 24 hours, the Federal Kidnapping Act gives law enforcement and prosecutors the authority to presume that the victim has been taken outside of the state or the country. The statute makes an exception for parents who abduct minor children.
Penalties for kidnapping
Under Illinois law, kidnapping is classified as a Class 2 felony, which is punishable by a fine and a prison term of 3 to 7 years. Aggravated kidnapping is treated as a Class X felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. In cases where a person is convicted of kidnapping or aggravating kidnapping a second time, the punishment is elevated to life in prison.
Under federal law, kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment for any period of time, up to life. If the kidnapping results in the death of the victim or of any other individual, the offender may receive the death penalty. If additional charges are brought under either state or federal law, separate penalties will apply if convicted of those crimes.
Contact our team for experienced defense lawyers
Chicago kidnapping attorney Michael Schmiege specializes in defending the rights of individuals charged with kidnapping in Illinois and throughout the United States. He possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to mount an aggressive defense at both the state and federal level. The consequences of a kidnapping conviction can be devastating for you and your loved ones. When your life and your liberty are at stake, you need the help of a dedicated legal advocate. Call (312) 906-7800 today to begin an initial assessment of your case.