Kidnapping is a felony offense in Massachusetts. Kidnapping charges are usually addressed at the superior court level but if the kidnapping crosses state lines then the charges will be handled by the federal court system.
Kidnapping is usually a crime that is committed in tandem with other crimes like rape, murder, robbery or in domestic child custody situations. In order to prove the crime of kidnapping the prosecution generally has to show that the defendant used some form of force, coercion, fraud or threat of force.
Kidnapping By Noncustodial Parent Or Family Member
The majority of kidnapping cases in Massachusetts center around divorced couples with children. Often time’s one parent is granted full custody of the children while the other gets partial custody or supervised visitations. In these cases a noncustodial parent might keep the child past the scheduled visitation or may take the child for a non-scheduled visit. It may be hard to believe but the majority of kidnappings involve family members and not strangers.
Defense To Kidnapping Charges
Statute recognizes three defenses to kidnapping:
- Taking someone within a valid court order granting custody or visitation rights. If a custody parent tries to prevent to non-custody parent from visiting the child during the non-custody parent’s court order visitation time and the non-custody parent takes the child against the custody parent’s wishes then this is a defense.
- Taking someone to avoid an incidence or pattern of domestic violence;
- Failure to return child due to circumstances beyond the defendant’s control. (The defendant was required to bring the child back to the custody parent by a certain time but traffic, a car accident or something like that prevented the non-custody parent from getting the child back to the custody parent by the required time.)
Criminal Penalties For A Conviction On Kidnapping Charges In Massachusetts
A defendant convicted of kidnapping faces imprisonment up to 10 years in state prison, a fine of up to $1,000 fine, or up to 2 years in the house of corrections. If the defendant committed the kidnapping with the intent of extorting money then he or she faces increase penalties. Increased penalties also follow a kidnapping committed while armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, or assault weapon. If the victim suffers bodily harm, is sexually assaulted or subdued by drugs then severe penalties will be added to the sentence.
Charged With Kidnapping? Call An Experienced Felony Crimes Defense Lawyer For A Free Consultation
If you are convicted of felony kidnapping you could be facing hefty fines, a prison sentence, a mark on your record, or probation. The blemish on your record for any criminal conviction will follow you for the rest of your life and may impact your ability to get a job, travel abroad, as well as adversely impact your constitutional rights to bear arms and vote. And, if you are a parent, it could affect your custodial and parental rights.
No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call the Brockton Kidnapping Defense Lawyer at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to confront this important matter. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.
Our knowledgeable and experienced Plymouth County Criminal Defense Attorney at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan are available to assist clients throughout all of Massachusetts, including but not limited Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Scituate, Hanover, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Holbrook, Kingston, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Dartmouth, Westport, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Lakeville, Norton; Cape Cod, Falmouth, Barnstable.