Based in Salt Lake City, Intermountain Legal provides intelligent defense representation to people accused of serious felonies, including first and second degree kidnapping charges.
Kidnapping Charges in Utah
Under the Utah Criminal Code, a person commits kidnapping if he or she intentionally or knowingly, without authority of law, and against the will of the victim:
- Detains or restrains the victim for any substantial period of time
- Detains or restrains the victim in circumstances exposing the victim to risk of bodily injury
- Holds the victim in involuntary servitude
- Detains or restrains a minor without the consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian
- Moves the victim any substantial distance or across a state line
A person commits child kidnapping if he or she intentionally or knowingly seizes, confines, detains, or transports a child under the age of fourteen without the consent of the victim's parent or guardian.
A person commits the crime of aggravated kidnapping if in the course of committing kidnapping, he or she possesses, uses, or threatens to use a dangerous weapon and acts with intent to:
- Hold the victim for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage, or to compel a third person to engage in particular conduct or to forbear from engaging in particular conduct
- Facilitate the commission, attempted commission, or flight after commission or attempted commission of a felony
- Hinder or delay the discovery of or reporting of a felony
- Inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another
- Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function
- Commit a sexual offense
Possible Penalties Associated with a Conviction
Kidnapping is classified as a second degree felony, carrying a punishment of three to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. In cases of child and aggravated kidnappings, the charge becomes a first degree felony, and the potential prison sentence increases to 15 years to life. If some bodily injury is caused to the victim or another, of if the person charged was previously convicted of a grievous sexual offense, the punishment for a second degree kidnapping may increase to life without parole.
Despite these sentencing guidelines, a lesser term may be given if the court finds that it is in the interests of justice. For example, a 15 year sentence may be reduced to ten years or six years if the defendant was exceptionally cooperative with law enforcement, is a good candidate for treatment, and/or has developmental disabilities.
Seek Experienced, Intelligent Defense Representation
Being accused of kidnapping is a serious charge that requires serious representation to overcome the potentially devastating consequences. If you face first or second degree charges, do not hesitate to contact Intermountain Legal for a free consultation. An experienced criminal attorney in Salt Lake City will discuss your options with you with the goal of determining your best course of action.