Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 section 26 defines and prohibits kidnapping in the Commonwealth. Despite its name, kidnapping does not only apply to the abduction of children. Rather, kidnapping refers to the unauthorized confinement of another person of any age against their will. Physical injury against the victim is not required. Therefore, simply refusing to allow someone to leave a confined space can constitute kidnapping.
Kidnapping also includes the situation in which the kidnapper demands money or some item of value in exchange for the freeing of the kidnapped person, and the situation in which a non-custodial parent takes a minor child without the permission of the custodial parent. In fact, the most common type of kidnapping case in Massachusetts involves family members.
In order to convict an individual of kidnapping, the prosecutor must generally establish three or four elements: First, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant lacked lawful authority regarding control over the victim. Second, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant forcibly or secretly confined that other person. Third, the prosecutor must prove that the confinement was against the will of the other person. And fourth, the prosecutor must prove any additional elements to elevate the charge to aggravated kidnapping, such as demanding money, using a weapon, or sexually assaulting the victim.
For each element, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an extremely high standard and protects defendants against abuses or mistakes by law enforcement personnel. If you are facing kidnapping charges, you need an attorney who is experienced in kidnapping cases, and who will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Massachusetts law imposes varying degrees of punishment based on the age of the person kidnapped, and whether or not the kidnapper used force or a weapon, or physically injures and/or sexually assaults the victim. Depending on these factors, sentencing for kidnapping convictions ranges from two years to life in prison, in addition to fines of varying amount. In addition, kidnapping charges can affect your parental rights, future job applications, housing applications, or green card and visa applications.
If you have been charged with kidnapping or are being investigated for involvement in a kidnapping, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney. Kidnapping is a felony, and is an extremely serious offense. It is prosecuted and punished aggressively, and a kidnapping conviction will change your life. You therefore need an experienced, knowledgeable, and persistent defense attorney to advocate on your behalf and protect your rights.Kidnapping Defense Attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP
The criminal defense trial attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman have decades of criminal defense experience, and have successfully defended against kidnapping charges. We understand the toll criminal charges can take on an individual and his or her family and we understand that you need a lawyer you can count on, both in and outside of court. Call us today for a free and confidential case consultation. We are available to our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we will be by your side every step of the way.