Columbus Kidnapping Defense Attorney
Bodily autonomy is one of the most fundamental of human rights. It means that everyone has control over their own body, including what happens to it and where it goes. This right is so deeply rooted in our society’s beliefs and customs that it is a crime to overcome another person’s bodily autonomy without permission to do so. If you are accused of taking control of another person, whether you allegedly restrained them, put them in a dangerous situation, or moved them to a new place, you can expect to be charged with a crime. More specifically, you are likely to be charged with unlawful restraint, abduction, or kidnapping.
In this situation, the best thing to do is call a Columbus kidnapping defense attorney near you from Luftman, Heck & Associates. We have years of experience in defending against these types of accusations. Call us at (614) 500-3836 to schedule a time to talk about your case.
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Kidnapping vs. Abduction
The terms kidnapping and abduction are often used interchangeably. However, under Ohio law, these are two different crimes. Kidnapping is a complex offense that requires a number of elements to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The crime of abduction is a lesser charge and typically simpler to prove in court. If you have any questions regarding the difference between kidnapping and abduction and how that affects your case, contact one of our kidnapping defense attorneys.
Kidnapping, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2905.01(A), is the unlawful use of force, threat, or deception, or if the victim is under 13 years old or mentally incompetent, the use of any means to remove a victim from a place or restrain the victim’s liberty for the purpose of:
- Holding the victim for ransom, as a hostage, or as a shield;
- Facilitating the commission of any felony or fleeing after a felony;
- Terrorizing or inflicting serious physical harm on the victim or another person;
- Engaging in sexual activity with the victim against the victim’s will;
- Hindering, impeding, or obstruction a function of the government, or to force any action or concession on the part of the government; or
- Forcing the victim into involuntary servitude.
You may also be charged with kidnapping under ORC §2905.01(AB) if you use any force, threat, or deception, or any means on a victim who is mentally incompetent or under the age of 13, to remove the victim from a place or restrain their liberty, and you knowingly, under the circumstances, create a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the victim, or for a minor victim, actually cause physical harm. In this situation, you do not need an additional purpose to the kidnapping, you only have to cause or create a risk of injury to the victim.
Kidnapping is a second-degree or first-degree felony. If convicted, you will face a mandatory prison sentence, and if the prosecution proves a sexual motivation, you may have to register as a sex offender. If you have been accused of kidnapping another person under any part of ORC §2905.01, you need to contact a Columbus kidnapping lawyer from Luftman, Heck & Associates as soon as possible.
Abduction, ORC §2905.02, constitutes knowingly and without permission:
- Using force or threat to remove another from a place;
- Using force or threat to restrain the liberty of another person in a way that creates a risk of physical harm to the victim or places the victim in fear of harm; or
- Forcing the victim into involuntary servitude.
It is also illegal to perform any of these actions with a sexual motivation. If the prosecution does not believe it has enough evidence to prove kidnapping, you will likely be charged with abduction, which may be a third- or second-degree felony. You need to speak with a Columbus abduction attorney right away to learn how to best defend yourself.
If there is evidence you tried to remove a victim from a place or restrain their liberty, yet you did not fully succeed in abducting the victim, then you may find yourself facing charges for attempted abduction. You need to call a kidnapping defense attorney today. This is a fourth- or third-degree felony, which can result in sex offender registration if performed with a sexual motivation.
There are many ways to defend against accusations of an attempted abduction. The prosecution must have evidence that you act intentionally and knowingly, with the purpose to commit abduction, and performed actions that, if successful, would have resulted in an abduction of the victim. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus abduction attorneys will aggressively defend against these allegations. We may argue you did not have the requisite intent for the offense or we may argue that your actions could not have led to an abduction.
False imprisonment arises through one person’s unlawful restraint of another. Under ORC §2905.03, unlawful restraint encompasses a person, who does not have permission to do so, knowingly restraining a victim of their liberty, with or without sexual motivation.
But what does it mean to restrain a person’s liberty? A person’s liberty is their right to move as they please, to come and go as they see fit. They have the right to remain in a place or leave whenever they want to. Restraining a person’s liberty means to take away their mobility and freedom. Unlawful restraint does not require that you take away the person’s entire ability to move, though it would encompass this. Restraining a person’s liberty can include locking them in a room or an entire building. If the victim is not able to leave the room or structure of their own free will, their liberty is restrained, even if they can get up and walk around.
If you are being accused of unlawfully restraining a person, whether or not you allegedly had sexual motivations or not, you may be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. Your best next step is to contact a false imprisonment attorney.
Additionally, unlawful restraint can arise when there are no physical barriers, or there are none at first. Instead, it may be by force, the explicit or implicit threat of violence, or the weight of authority that overcomes a victim’s free will. This can be an issue when it comes to law enforcement or medical establishments. There are times when the police or physicians have the right to restrain someone, such as when making an arrest or protecting a person from self-harm. However, if an individual in a position of authority restrains a person without the legal privilege to do so, this is confinement without legal authority and it may amount to a crime. If you are being accused of unlawfully restraining someone during your line of work, call our Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
Statutory Penalties for Kidnapping Crimes
The potential penalty you face for a kidnapping-related offense depends on the level of the misdemeanor or felony charge.
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $250
- Third-degree misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500
- Second-degree misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $750
- First-degree misdemeanor: Up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000
- Fifth-degree felony: Up to 12 months in prison and a fine up to $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony: Up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $5,000
- Third-degree felony: Up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Up to 8 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000
- First-degree felony: Up to 11 years in prison, unless a longer imprisonment is allowed by a specific statute, and a fine up to $20,000
No matter what charge you face, a Columbus kidnapping defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates will fight for your exoneration in court while also preparing to minimize the consequences of a conviction. Our defense strategy will, in part, pursue the minimal possible punishment if you are convicted.
Sex Offender Registration
There are also times when one of these crimes will result in you being labeled a sex offender and being required to register. Unlawful restraint with sexual motivation is a Tier I sex offense, which requires you to register once a year for 15 years. Abduction with a sexual motivation, kidnapping an adult, and kidnapping with a sexual motivation are Tier II crimes, requiring registration every six months for 25 years. Kidnapping of a minor when you are not the child’s parent or for sexual activity are Tier III offenses that require registration every 90 days for life and community notification.
When you are facing criminal charges that could result in sex offender registration, you need to work with an experienced and aggressive lawyer. Call our kidnapping defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates to determine the strongest defenses possible in your case.
Contact A Columbus Kidnapping Attorney Today
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we believe in taking an aggressive and comprehensive approach to criminal cases. We will begin by conducting an independent investigation into the accusations against you. We will leave no stone unturned in seeking evidence that supports your defense and weakens the prosecution’s case. Based on the information we find, we may seek to have the charges dropped or reduced. Next, we may discuss your options, including negotiating a plea bargain and preparing for trial.
We have successfully represented many individuals in our years of legal service. Whether you face a low-level misdemeanor or first-degree felony, we will use all of our skills and resources to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
For over a decade, the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at LHA have successfully represented clients on criminal offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.