California law defines the crime of kidnapping under Penal Code 207 as moving another person a substantial distance, without the person’s consent, by means of force or fear. This is the definition of a simple kidnapping.
However, simple kidnapping can become aggravated kidnapping if the following occurs:
- the victim is a child under 14,
- the victim is injured or killed,
- a ransom is demanded, or
- the kidnapping is part of a carjacking
- Victim consented to being moved
- The movement was insufficient to qualify as kidnapping
- You were not the individual who did the kidnapping (might have been only present)
- Falsely accused of kidnapping based on mistaken identity or other factors, and/or
- You had the right to travel with your child—parents who do not have legal custody of the child victim may be convicted of kidnapping and/or child abduction if they take the child or conceal the child from his/her legal custodian
- 3, 5, or 8 years in state prison
- 5, 8, or 11 years if victim is under 14
- Life if weapons used with force or fear
- Strike offense
- Loss of firearms
- Possible loss of public assistance programs
- Immigration consequences
California PC Code section 207;
(a) Every person who forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.
(b) Every person, who for the purpose of committing any act defined in Section 288, hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like, any child under the age of 14 years to go out of this country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.
(c) Every person who forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, takes or holds, detains, or arrests any person, with a design to take the person out of this state, without having established a claim, according to the laws of the United States, or of this state, or who hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like, any person to go out of this state, or to be taken or removed therefrom, for the purpose and with the intent to sell that person into slavery or involuntary servitude, or otherwise to employ that person for his or her own use, or to the use of another, without the free will and consent of that persuaded person, is guilty of kidnapping.
(d) Every person who, being out of this state, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings, sends, or conveys that person within the limits of this state, and is afterwards found within the limits thereof, is guilty of kidnapping.
(e) For purposes of those types of kidnapping requiring force, the amount of force required to kidnap an unresisting infant or child is the amount of physical force required to take and carry the child away a substantial distance for an illegal purpose or with an illegal intent.
(f) Subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, do not apply to any of the following:
- To any person who steals, takes, entices away, detains, conceals, or harbors any child under the age of 14 years, if that act is taken to protect the child from danger of imminent harm.
- To any person acting under Section 834 or 837.
(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 23, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2004.)