Persons accused of kidnapping and false imprisonment in Wichita have allegedly confined someone to a space they control, or have induced confinement or taking of another person. These charges could lead to serious time in prison if convicted, with potential additional charges if bodily harm, rape, or murder were also committed.
Because Sedgwick County boasts some of Kansas' toughest state prosecutors, an individual charged with a serious crime like kidnapping should demand equally serious representation in court.
When you've been charged with a serious crime and your freedom and reputation are in jeopardy, choose the firm that has become synonymous with tough Wichita criminal defense. Contact our office at (316) 262-2600 to get the quality legal representation you deserve.
Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Laws in Kansas
Kansas Statutes Annotated 21-5408 covers the crimes of kidnapping and the level of felony a suspect may be charged with. False imprisonment, which is considered criminal restraint, is addressed under 21-5411.
- Kidnapping—a Level 3, person felony—means the taking or confining of any person, accomplished by use of deception, threat or force, with the intention of holding such person 1) for ransom, or as a shield or hostage; 2) to facilitate flight or the commission of any crime; 3) to inflict bodily injury or to terrorize the victim or another; or 4) to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function
- Aggravated kidnapping—a Level 1, person felony—means the individual kidnapped while inflicting bodily harm to the victim.
- Criminal restraint—a Class A, person misdemeanor—is holding or restraining another without the authority to hold them and with the intention of interfering with their liberty.
Kansas has clamped down on kidnapping and false imprisonment charges over the years. With nationwide Amber and Silver Alerts to help locate missing or exploited children and senior citizens, defendants accused of these crimes should immediately retain an attorney before questioning.
Penalties for Kidnapping and False Imprisonment
If convicted of either charge, the consequences could put defendants in KDOC for years — even life. As with any criminal charge, sentencing guidelines will take into account the severity of the crime, victim impact statements, the convicted person's criminal past, and the suggestions of the probation department and prosecutor.
- Level 3 kidnapping carries up to 247 months (20 years, 7 months) in KDOC, along with any restitution and fines the court deems just and proper.
- Level 1 aggravated kidnapping carries up to 653 months (54 years, 5 months) in KDOC, along with any fines and restitution ordered by the court.
- Class A person Misdemeanors carry up to 12 months in jail, $2,500 fine, or two years of probation in lieu of jail time.
Committing unrelated felonies during the commission of kidnapping and false imprisonment may enhance sentencing. Discuss your case with James R. Pratt to see if additional sentences are possible, and what options are available for pleading down to lesser offenses.
Defenses to Kidnapping & False Imprisonment
Kansas' kidnapping and false imprisonment statute has built-in defenses to the charges. With a criminal defense attorney's help, persons accused of either charge may employ the following defenses:
- Consent. One potential defense to kidnapping is to show that the abductee consented to the act. For example, two individuals get into heated arguments, jump into a vehicle and speed off. While the act looks criminal, it may be a simple misunderstanding. Consent would negate kidnapping provided the defendant can prove the victim approved of their actions.
- Boundaries weren't set. False imprisonment requires that clear boundaries were established by the defendant. That means the victim's freedom must have been in some way physically constricted (i.e., through walls or locked door). If there's an open door or only three walls, and the defendant could have left, the defendant can attest the individual could have left whenever they chose.
- Defendant made a lawful citizen's arrest. If the victim was committing an offense that allowed the defendant to make a citizen's arrest, this defense might be effective — provided they can prove the offense was committed, and the restraint wasn't illegal.
- Mistaken identity. If the victim was kidnapped and released, police may arrest who the victim described as their captor. However, false arrests aren't uncommon, and there are times when an individual closely resembles the defendant but isn't actually involved.
- Merchant confinement. Store owners and their employees are legally allowed to lock store doors if an individual was caught committing theft or other crimes on their premises, provided it's done lawfully and without physically harming the suspect.
- Lack of evidence. Prosecutor failed to meet a minimum standard of evidence to prove the defendant committed the offense.
- Parental or legal guardian authority applied. Provided doing so doesn't disrupt the health or well-being of a minor child, or individual with a court-ordered custodian or guardian, confinement is lawful if by doing so the victim is protected from self-harm or committing an offense.
These are just some of the defenses that can prove effective in combating a kidnapping charge. James R. Pratt works diligently to compel the state to provide irrefutable evidence, beyond a doubt, that kidnapping and false imprisonment took place. When they can't, many cases will reach plea deals with charges being reduced, or the case will be dismissed altogether.
Aggressive Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Defense
Defending charges of kidnapping requires an incredible amount of research, evidence collection, witness interviews, character witness assembly, and expert jury selection. James R. Pratt has invested his career in helping those accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses, by vigorously defending their due process rights. Persons charged with false imprisonment and kidnapping deserve to have their side of the story heard.
If you're being investigated for kidnapping or false imprisonment, are out on bond, or have been incarcerated, let James R. Pratt handle your case. A free case evaluation can be scheduled by filling out his contact form or calling (316) 262-2600.