Kidnapping is one of the most severe crimes anyone may be charged with in California. California Penal Code §207(a) makes it unlawful to use force or fear to take someone into any other county, state, or country. Under this Section, forcefully taking someone to a location in the same California county and detaining or arresting someone without legal rights is also illegal and may be charged as kidnapping.
A kidnapping charge may be a “serious felony” in California and may be considered a “strike” on your criminal record. If convicted, you may face devastating consequences that may include a lengthy prison sentence.
If you or a loved one faces kidnapping charges in Santa Barbara, contact The Aron Law Firm for skilled criminal defense. We handle high-stakes litigation like kidnapping cases and have the knowledge and experience to challenge these alarming charges.
Kidnapping Defined Under California Penal Code §207(a)
To convict you of kidnapping under California Penal Code §207(a), the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You held or took another person through force or fear, AND
- Using force or fear, you moved or made the person move a substantial distance, AND
- The person did not consent to the movement, AND
- You were aware the person did not consent to the movement.
Even if a person consents to be moved, they may change their mind and withdraw that consent. If a person no longer voluntarily and freely agrees to be moved, the individual moving them may be charged with kidnapping under Penal Code §207(a).
Additionally, the Section of the Penal Code holds a person guilty of kidnapping if they abduct or forcefully move a person out of the state and is afterward found within the California state limits.
What Are the Penalties for Kidnapping in Santa Barbara?
Under California Penal Code §207(a), kidnapping is a serious felony that may result in up to eight years in state prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or any combination of the two.
Kidnapping may also be considered a strike under California's “Three Strikes” sentencing system. After convictions of three serious felonies such as kidnapping, you may be sentenced to a minimum 25-year sentence in a California state prison.
What Defenses May Be Used Against Kidnapping Charges in Santa Barbara?
Allegations of kidnapping may have devastating effects on not just your future freedom and wellbeing but also the wellbeing of your family. Our committed team of criminal defense lawyers at the Aron Law Firm has significant experience defending clients in Santa Barbara against these felony charges and may help you create a strong defense against the charges you may face.
Common defenses that may be used against a kidnapping charge in Santa Barbara include proving that:
- You did not move a far distance
- The person allegedly kidnapped consented to move
- You were legally entitled to move the person
- You weren't the kidnapper
- There is a lack of sufficient evidence
- The accusation is false
For example, say a father who's in a custody agreement with his ex-wife picks up their daughter on a day when she's in the mother's custody and drives her to a different location while the mother did not know. The mother realizes her daughter is gone, panics, and reports the father to the police for kidnapping under Penal Code §207(a). While the father unlawfully moved the daughter a far distance, if the daughter willfully consented to go with her father, all the kidnapping elements are not met, and he should not be charged.
What Should I Do If Charged with Kidnapping in Santa Barbara?
Kidnapping is a serious felony that may carry life-altering implications, which is why it is essential that you retain a skilled and committed Santa Barbara Kidnapping Defense Lawyer with experience defending kidnapping charges as soon as possible. You need an attorney with proven capabilities to help protect your rights, freedom, and reputation for both you and your family.
A Santa Barbara kidnapping defense attorney may be able to:
- Negotiate a lesser charge through a plea bargain
- Reduce your sentence
- Get the charges dropped completely
Partnering with a seasoned Santa Barbara kidnapping attorney may help limit the severity of penalties you face for a kidnapping conviction. Retaining criminal defense attorneys at the Aron Law Firm is the most effective way to ensure that every possible defense is raised in your favor.
Schedule a Consultation with a Santa Barbara Kidnapping Defense Lawyer
The kidnapping defense attorneys at the Aron Law Firm have a keen understanding of the Santa Barbara courts and a vast knowledge of California's penal system. If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with kidnapping, contact us as soon as possible. After learning the circumstances surrounding your case, we may be able to help devise a defense strategy that may result in the most favorable possible outcome.
The Aron Law Firm is managed by William M. Aron, who served as the former Deputy District Attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. He brings his insight and experience from prosecuting hundreds of criminal cases in protecting the rights and freedoms of his clients in Santa Barbara who face serious criminal offenses. To speak with him about your Santa Barbara kidnapping offense, schedule a confidential consultation by completing our contact form or calling (805) 618-1768.