Kidnapping Criminal Defense Lawyers in North Carolina
Kidnapping is considered one of the most serious criminal offenses under North Carolina law. North Carolina, along with only a few other states, maintains a database for both missing children and missing adults who are suspected of having been kidnapped.
Suspected kidnapping offenses are vigorously prosecuted in North Carolina. If you have been arrested for or charged with kidnapping, you need experienced legal representation to help you defend your rights and interests.
Since 1998, the criminal defense attorneys of Kurtz & Blum have represented residents in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina when they are facing criminal charges. With more than 50 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have the knowledge and skills to provide individualized legal strategies for each client’s case.
Because our legal team uses a collaborative approach for each case, you can expect to benefit from the knowledge of each of our attorneys. At Kurtz & Blum, you’ll have our whole team working to secure the best possible outcome in your case. We’re in your corner.
Call or contact us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your rights and options for defending yourself against charges for kidnapping in North Carolina.
What Is the Kidnapping Definition in North Carolina?
North Carolina General Statutes §14-39 defines kidnapping as unlawfully confining, restraining, or taking from one place to another a person 16 years of age or older without their consent, or a person under the age of 16 without the consent of their parent or legal guardian. Unlawful confinement, restraint, or removal is further defined as:
- Holding a person for ransom
- Holding a person as a hostage
- Using a person as a shield
- Facilitating a felony or the flight of a person who has committed a felony
- Terrorizing or inflicting bodily harm
- Holding a person in involuntary servitude
- Trafficking a person for the purposes of involuntary servitude or sexual servitude
- Subjecting a person to sexual servitude
Different Types of Kidnapping
The kidnapping legal definition depends on the specific offense. Kidnapping can be charged in one of three different ways under North Carolina law:
- First-degree kidnapping – First-degree kidnapping may be charged if the victim of the kidnapping was seriously injured, sexually assaulted, or not released in a safe place. First-degree kidnapping is graded as a Class C felony.
- Second-degree kidnapping – Second-degree kidnapping may be charged when the victim was not injured or sexually assaulted and was released in a safe place. Second-degree kidnapping is graded as a Class E felony.
- Parental kidnapping – Parental kidnapping in NC can also be considered a criminal offense. North Carolina law makes it illegal for a parent to interfere with the custody rights of the child’s other parent. Withholding a child from their other parent in violation of a custody order may result in a finding of contempt of court. More serious behavior, such as removing the child to another place without their other parent’s knowledge or taking the child out of the state of North Carolina or out of the country, may result in a charge of child abduction under North Carolina General Statutes §14-41, which is graded as a Class F felony.
A conviction for kidnapping in North Carolina can carry serious criminal penalties. The potential kidnapping sentence depends on which offense you are charged with, as follows:
- First-degree kidnapping, graded as a Class C felony, which carries a base sentencing range of 44 to 182 months
- Second-degree kidnapping, graded as a Class E felony, which has a base sentencing range of 15 to 63 months
- Abduction of a child, graded as a Class F felony, which has a base sentencing range of 10 to 41 months
Even a finding of contempt of court for a parental kidnapping offense can result in the imposition of penalties that include fines and jail time.
The base sentencing ranges can be increased for offenders who have a prior criminal history. In addition, the sentencing range may be further adjusted upward or downward if the court finds that aggravating or mitigating factors apply to the case.
Courts may also exercise their discretion to impose fines on top of prison time for a felony kidnapping conviction.
A person charged with kidnapping in North Carolina may potentially have factual and/or legal defenses they can assert against their charges, such as:
- The victim, if aged 16 years or older, consented to being confined, restrained, or taken from one place to another by the defendant.
- The defendant had legal authorization to take an alleged victim under the age of 16, such as a parent or legal guardian having the right to exercise custody, or authorization from the parent or guardian with custody.
- The defendant restrained the victim, but the restraint was part of another felony that the defendant committed against the victim, such as restraining a victim during a robbery or a sexual assault.
- The defendant did not inflict serious injury on the victim. Although a “serious injury” is not defined under North Carolina law, factors that courts look at to determine whether a serious injury occurred include the pain suffered by the victim, whether the injury involved a loss of blood or hospitalization, or whether the victim had to miss time from school or work to recover from their injuries.
- The defendant released the victim to a safe place. Although a defendant cannot release a victim in a safe place when confronted or cornered by law enforcement, courts have held that releasing a victim somewhere with the means to call for help constitutes leaving the victim in a safe place.
- The defendant suffered from insanity or a mental defect.
- The defendant lacked the required criminal intent to commit a kidnapping.
Depending on the defense employed, a defendant may be able to secure a reduction in the grading of their charge, have their kidnapping charge dismissed, or be acquitted on the charge.
How Kurtz & Blum Can Help
After you have been arrested and charged with kidnapping in North Carolina, turn to the kidnapping lawyers of Kurtz & Blum to protect your rights, freedom, and future. Our experienced attorneys can help you face your charges by:
- Providing you with honest, sincere advice regarding your rights and options and the potential outcomes you may be facing in your case
- Conducting our own investigation of your case, rather than just relying on the evidence provided to us by the prosecution
- Identifying possible defenses we can employ in your case to seek a reduction or dismissal of your charges
- Negotiating for the best possible result in your case, whether that means having your charges reduced, your case dismissed, or obtaining a favorable plea agreement for you
- Advocating at trial in your defense to fight for an acquittal
If you have been arrested and charged with kidnapping in North Carolina, contact Kurtz & Blum today for a free confidential consultation with one of our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys to learn more about how we can help you face your charges.