Florida Kidnapping Laws
According to §787, Fla. Stat., several crimes may be considered various types of kidnapping in Florida. Simply put, kidnapping involves holding someone against their will, confining them, or abducting them with negative intent.
Three-Prong Test to Assess Kidnapping Charges
Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court uses a three-prong test to determine if movement or confinement during the commission of another felony justifies a kidnapping charge. Essentially, the movement or confinement must:
- Not be slight, inconsequential, or merely incidental to the other crime;
- Not be of the kind inherent to the nature of the other crime; and
- Have some significance independent of the other crime in that it makes the other crime substantially easier to commit or substantially lessens the risk of detection.
Types of Kidnapping in Florida
Some specific types of kidnapping under Florida law include:
- Kidnapping (§ 787.01, Fla. Stat.): This involves holding a person against their will by force or threat with the intent of committing other crimes. It also includes holding a person under 13 years old without the consent of their parent or guardian.
- False Imprisonment (§ 787.02, Fla. Stat.): This involves confining someone against their will without the intention of committing additional crimes.
- Interference with Custody (§ 787.03, Fla. Stat.): This involves interference with the lawful custody of a parent, guardian, or public agency.
- Human Trafficking (§ 787.06, Fla. Stat.): This means “transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, enticing, maintaining, purchasing, patronizing, procuring, or obtaining another person” for exploitation purposes.
- Human Smuggling (§ 787.07, Fla. Stat.): Often confused with human trafficking, it actually involves transporting or aiding someone who has illegally entered the country. It does not involve force.
Penalties for Kidnapping in Florida
The penalties for kidnapping in Florida depend on the specific crime that was committed as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors.
Penalties for the mentioned crimes include:
- Kidnapping: This is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If sex crimes are also committed against a minor, it is a life felony.
- False Imprisonment: This is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. However, if the alleged victim is under 13 years old, it is a first-degree felony.
- Interference with Custody: This is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
- Human Trafficking: This is either a first-degree felony or a life felony, depending on the age of the alleged victim and other criminal activities that may be involved.
- Human Smuggling: This is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
If your crime is a life felony, you can face up to life in prison.
In addition to time in prison, you will face significant fines for these felony offenses, including up to $5,000 for a third-degree felony, up to $10,000 for second-degree and first-degree felonies, and up to $15,000 for a life felony.
Aggravating Factors in Kidnapping Cases
Aggravating factors in kidnapping cases are circumstances that make the crime more serious and warrant a harsher punishment. Some common examples include:
- Serious Bodily Injury or Death to the Victim: If the kidnapping results in the alleged victim’s serious bodily injury or death, the penalties may be increased.
- Ransom: If you demand a ransom for the alleged victim’s release, this may be considered an aggravating factor.
- Vulnerable Victim: Kidnapping a vulnerable victim, such as a child, an elderly person, or a person with a disability, may also be considered an aggravating factor.
- Multiple Victims: Kidnapping multiple victims is another aggravating factor.
- Criminal History: Prior convictions on your record could result in a more severe punishment.
- Prior Planning: Evidence suggesting the careful planning of a kidnapping could increase your sentence.
- Abuse of Position of Authority: If you were in a position of authority over the alleged victim, such as a parent, teacher, or coach, this can also be considered an aggravating factor.
- Motivated by Financial or Material Gain: If you were motivated by financial or material gain, this can also be considered an aggravating factor.
- Attempts to Frustrate or Impede the Administration of Justice: This involves attempting to destroy evidence or otherwise impeding the investigation.
How a Kidnapping Lawyer Can Help Your Case
A kidnapping conviction can lead to imprisonment, fines, and other serious consequences. Your kidnapping attorney will challenge all the evidence, including the alleged victim’s statements, and work to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Reducing or Dismissing Your Charges
There are several ways to get kidnapping charges reduced or dismissed, but they vary depending on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. Some common strategies include:
- Negotiating with the prosecutor
- Filing a motion to dismiss
- Raising a self-defense defense
- Raising a mental illness defense
- Being cooperative with law enforcement and the court
- Creating doubt by discrediting the prosecution’s arguments
You should know that every kidnapping case is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting charges reduced or dismissed. The best course of action varies depending on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
Understand Your Legal Options – Call Today
Kidnapping charges can impact every area of your life. Not only will it ruin your reputation, but it can land you behind bars for years. With the help of a skilled kidnapping lawyer at Mitkevicius Law, PLLC, you can stand up for your rights and get the best outcome possible.
Lead attorney Josef Mitkevicius has more than 10 years of legal experience that he will use to fight for you throughout the legal process. Contact us at 850-361-2142 to schedule your free consultation today.