While all criminal charges need to be taken seriously, it’s important to note that some crimes in Florida tend to be prosecuted more severely than others. One crime that almost always comes with severe penalties in Florida is kidnapping; But what exactly does this crime entail?
How Does Florida Law Describe Kidnapping?
As with any crime, the definition of kidnapping varies from state to state. In Florida, kidnapping is defined in Statute 787.01, which describes the crime as:
“Forcibly, secretly or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to:
- Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.
- Commit or facilitate commission of any felony.
- Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person.
- Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.”
Kidnapping charges are taken more seriously than charges for false imprisonment in Florida because, unlike false imprisonment, kidnapping involves an intent to commit another offense.
How is a Kidnapping Conviction Penalized in Florida?
As a first-degree felony, kidnapping is one of the most severe offenses a person can face. If you face a charge for kidnapping in Florida, the penalties could affect you for the rest of your life. Anyone convicted of kidnapping in Florida could be sentenced to life imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines.
In cases where aggravating circumstances were present, kidnapping can be raised to a life felony. Factors that could intensify the penalties for kidnapping in Florida include:
- Kidnapping a child under the age of 13
- Aggravated child abuse
- Sexual battery against the child
- Lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, conduct, or exhibition
- Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited
- Prostitution involving the child
- Human trafficking
- Use of a firearm
Florida’s 10/20/Life law will apply to any kidnappings that involve the use of a firearm. Also known as the “Three Strikes Law,” 10/20/Life outlines minimum sentences for firearm-related offenses. The law mandates that any crime in which a gun’s trigger is pulled will result in at least 20 years in prison. However, if the bullet hits someone, whether the person is killed or not, you face 25 years to life in prison.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight a Kidnapping Charge in Florida
A criminal charge does not always have to mean a criminal conviction. Depending on your unique case, there are several defense strategies that an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use to fight a kidnapping charge effectively. They include:
- Lack of intent: You did not intend to commit a crime
- Mistaken identity: You were erroneously identified by a victim or witness
- Misunderstanding: You thought that the victim consented to go with you
Because the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff in criminal cases, a skilled criminal defense attorney can investigate their case against you and:
- Identify any weak points in their story
- Question the reliability of their evidence
- Place doubt in the jurors’ minds
Your attorney may also be able to get the state to decrease the charges against you by showing that there were no aggravating factors present in your case.
Contact an Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney for a Kidnapping Charge
A conviction for kidnapping could put you in prison for the rest of your life. If you face a criminal charge for kidnapping, an experienced criminal defense attorney will have the know-how to construct a robust defense strategy.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel has been defending Floridians accused of crimes such as kidnapping for almost 30 years. He will use all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career to negotiate on your behalf to have your charges alleviated, or in some cases, dropped entirely. Call The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575 or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation to begin discussing your legal options with Mr. Gabriel today.