Kidnapping is an extremely serious felony criminal charge and one that carries a significant stigma. But it is rarely as dramatic or extreme as images and thoughts the word “kidnapping” evokes – ransom notes and terrorizing children.
In fact, you can be charged with kidnapping if you are accused of restraining someone against their will, or forcing someone to travel out of state. These are judgment calls where there can be circumstances that explain the situation. Many of these charges are related to a domestic dispute or a fight.
Either way, a kidnapping charge is a very serious one. You may be indicted in Superior Court which hears the most serious felony criminal cases in Massachusetts. Not only do you face significant possible penalties that include prison, you face the humiliation of being seen as the type of person who would take someone against their will—the ultimate “bad guy.”
In most cases, the circumstances are much less threatening than the word kidnapping suggests. We can help you sort this out and try to prove alternative explanations in court for what really happened.
When facing accusations of kidnapping, you need someone on your side who understands the laws and your place within them—someone who is interested in helping you protect your rights and fight to get you the best result possible on your day in court.
Kidnapping Laws and Penalties in Massachusetts
There are several different factors that will play a role in the penalty you face if convicted of kidnapping.
In general, kidnapping is defined as: forcibly or secretly confining or imprisoning another person against his will, forcibly carrying or sending someone out of the state, or forcibly seizing another person.
The penalty for this most basic definition of kidnapping is up to 10 years in prison.
- If, however, you are accused of committing a kidnapping offense while using a firearm, your punishment could include a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
- If you are accused of kidnapping with a weapon and with the intention of extorting money (as in a ransom), you could face up to life in prison and no less than 20 years.
- If you are armed during the commission of the offense and you inflict serious bodily harm on the victim or you sexually assault the victim, you will face a sentence of no less than 25 years.
- If you are accused of kidnapping someone under the age of 16, regardless of circumstances and the presence of a weapon, you will face at least 15 years in prison.
Kidnapping is a felony charge and carries along with the risk of a lengthy prison sentence sentences, the potential of being labeled a convicted felon for the rest of your life. With a crime like this on your record, living a normal life can be quite difficult.
I am a Kidnapping “victim” and I don’t want to Press Charges
I understand, we get these calls sometimes. If the prosecutor suspects any domestic abuse, and the police are called, and there is any tiny evidence that you were held against your will, the police and prosecutrors may try to push a kidnapping charge. If it is a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend who is accused, it still counts as a domestic relationship.
It is the District Attorney that pursues the charges, so it isn’t up to you to “drop” the charges. However, it is usually very difficult for the DA to successfully prosecute against your will, and we can work with that if we represent the defendant. These cases are a little complicated, as with any domestic abuse related charge. The prosecutors don’t want to simply drop a kidnapping charge or any domestic violence charge, because in extreme cases, an abusor can exert his will against the victim.
But in cases where the charge is overblown, or frankly silly, we will need to talk the prosecution down from a prosecution where the situation simply got out of hand and exaggerated.
Give us a call, and we can talk to you, and the defendant and suggest some legal defense options.
Get Legal Help with a Massachusetts Kidnapping Charge
Being accused of a crime is not the same as being convicted of the offense. You have a right to a defend yourself.
There are often excellent defenses we can work through, especially when these cases are “overcharged” by the prosecution.
I’ve assisted numerous people in fighting all kinds of criminal charges, including kidnapping, and I can help you. Contact my offices today to discuss your case and the legal options you have.