A conviction for any form of kidnapping is sure to bring a long prison term under Illinois law. Sentencing can further be enhanced if the charge is elevated to aggravated kidnapping.
In some instances, kidnapping may be prosecuted under state laws, but when someone is kidnapped and transported across state lines, it can trigger a federal charge, resulting in even more harsh penalties.
Kidnapping takes place when a person knowingly confines another person against their will and then moves that person from one place to another. Physical force or the threat of physical force does not always have to be present. A person can be kidnapped if they are duped or deceived. The key to a charge is that a person ultimately holds someone against their will.
Kidnapping is elevated to a charge of aggravated kidnapping if the following conditions are in place:
- It is the intent to hold the victim for ransom
- The victim is under 13 or severely mentally disabled
- The perpetrator used a weapon in the commission of the kidnapping
- The victim suffered significant bodily harm
- Another felony was committed during the commission of the kidnapping
Aggravated kidnapping carries with it a prison term of up to 30 years in prison, plus up to another 25 years depending on the seriousness of the crime, so it is imperative to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you have been charged.
In some cases, an attorney can argue that a person consented to be moved to another location instead of against their will, although this defense is not permissible if the victim is under 13 or severely mentally disabled.
In other situations, such as with divorced parents, it can be argued that one parent took a child to keep them from imminent harm or that there was no increased harm that took place to the victim by moving him or her.
The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.