Kidnapping is a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison in the State of Florida.
When you are arrested for kidnapping, you will be held without bond. It will take an Arthur Hearing for the judge to even consider bond. Until the Arthur Hearing occurs, you will remain in jail.
Kidnapping is a case based almost entirely on the testimony of an alleged victim, unless independent witnesses can verify that the alleged victim was taken against their will.
We see all types of kidnapping cases. Stranger kidnappings are rare. Kidnapping can be a domestic crime when it occurs between present or former spouses, or two people with children in common. Kidnapping can also occur where one parent takes a child away from the other parent against the terms of their custody agreement. This charge is specifically known as interfering with child custody.
Kidnapping and false imprisonment are two different crimes, and sometimes the two are confused with each other. However, on its own, false imprisonment is a third-degree felony punishable by five years in prison. It also permits an accused person to post a reasonable bond.
Kidnapping, however, is a non-bondable life felony.
When the case is in its early stages, I like to contact the prosecutor to see if the charges can be reduced to false imprisonment. If that is the case, I can ask the court to issue a bond. Plus, if my client has no priors, false imprisonment will permit them to receive a Pretrial Intervention offer from the State should the alleged victim agree and if the client has no priors.
However, if kidnapping charges are filed, the case will likely go to trial. A detailed investigation of the case must be done by a good criminal defense attorney so that the accused can be exonerated of the charges.
Remember that most cases are built on accusations. It is very easy for somebody to accuse another person of a crime. The difficult part comes when the State of Florida, the prosecuting entity, must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Never forget that you enjoy the presumption of innocence. The law assumes that you are innocent of the charges until the State proves otherwise.
Many people get scared and quickly plead guilty to serious offenses. A kidnapping conviction can not only send you to prison, it will make you a convicted felon. Imagine having a kidnapping conviction on your record for the rest of your life. Good luck finding a job in that situation.
Don't be afraid to fight back when the government is accusing you of a crime. Your life and liberty depends on your willingness to defend yourself. But don't go it alone. Hiring a qualified criminal defense lawyer is the most important decision you can make when facing serious felony charges such as kidnapping.
I am a former Miami-Dade prosecutor and current defense attorney who practices criminal defense in Miami-Dade County and Broward County. I handle every type of felony crime, including kidnapping.
If you or someone you know is facing kidnapping charges in South Florida, call me to schedule a confidential consultation.