Kidnapping and Unlawful Imprisonment

Any accusations of kidnapping must be met with an experienced New York City kidnapping crime lawyer. New York's kidnapping laws are divided into two categories. The first category is Kidnapping in the First and Second Degree, which are among the most serious laws in New York and which carry among the stiffest sanctions possible. The second category is Unlawful Imprisonment in the First and Second Degree, which is also serious.

While most people have a pretty accurate understanding of what kind of conduct constitutes these crimes, they may not know that there are a lot of circumstances when a person commits an act that could fall into either of these categories. In an effort to make this as clear as possible, it's best to address the various crimes in order of increasing severity.

The lowest level crime within these subsections is Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree (P.L. 135.05). This is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. A person commits this crime when he "restrains another person."

Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree (P.L. 135.10) is a class E felony which is punishable by up to 4 years in jail. A person commits this crime when he "restrains another person under circumstances which exposes that person to a risk of serious physical injury."

Kidnapping in the Second Degree (P.L. 135.20) is a class B violent felony which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. A person who has never been convicted of any crime faces a mandatory minimum sentenced of 5 years in prison if convicted of this crime. A person is guilty of Second Degree Kidnapping when he "abducts another person."

Kidnapping in the First Degree (P.L. 135.25) is among the most serious crimes in the New York Penal Code. If convicted, a person could receive a life sentenced. A person is guilty of this crime when he "abducts another person" and when "(i) his intent is to compel a third person to pay or deliver money or property as ransom, or to engage in other particular conduct, or to refrain from engaging in particular conduct; or (ii) he restrains the person abducted for a period of more than twelve hours with intent to: (a) inflict physical injury upon him or violate or abuse him sexually; (b) accomplish or advance the commission of a felony; (c) terrorize him or a third person; (d) interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function; or (iii) the person abducted dies during the abduction or before he is able to return or to be returned to safety."

In certain circumstances the death of the person abducted may legally be presumed.

There are some terms of art with regard to Kidnapping and Unlawful Imprisonment that carry their own special meaning (See P.L. 135.00).

"Abduct" means to restrain a person with intent to prevent his liberation by either secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found or by using or threatening the use of deadly physical force.

"Restrain" means to restrict a person's movements intentionally and unlawfully in such manner as to interfere substantially with his liberty by moving him from one place to another, or by confining him either in the place here the restriction commences or in a place to which he has been moved, without consent and with knowledge that the restriction is unlawful.

A person is moved or confined "without consent" when such is accomplished by (i) physical force, intimidation or deception, or (ii) by any means, including acqueiesence of the victim, if he is a child less than 16 years old or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian, or other person or institution having lawful control or custody of him has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement.

There is an affirmative defense to Unlawful Imprisonment that the person restrained was a child less than 16 years old and the restrainer was a relative of the child and his sole purpose was to assume control of the child.

There is an affirmative defense to Kidnapping that the person restrained was a relative of the restrainer and the restrainer's sole purpose was to assume control of the child.

Each one of the crimes listed in this section is serious. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney if you, or a loved one, are accused of any of these crimes.