Kidnapping Defenses in Arizona
Being charged with kidnapping carries serious repercussions in Arizona.
Depending on the specifics of the offense, kidnapping is a Class 4 to Class 2 felony. A Class 4 felony carries a sentence of up to 3.75 years in prison and in the case of a Class 2 felony, the sentence could reach up to 21 years in prison (if there are aggravating circumstances).
Even if you know that you’re innocent, you shouldn’t underestimate the severity of the charges. Getting in touch with an Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is the smartest thing to do. Your attorney will give you some suggestions about the best future course of action and the possible defense strategies that can be employed.
The Most Common Defense Scenarios
To understand the effective defense strategies, it’s important to start with the definition of kidnapping in Arizona.
In Arizona, a person commits kidnapping by knowingly restraining another person with the intent to (as per A.R.S. 13-1304):
- Hold the victim for ransom
- Use them as a “human shield”
- Inflict physical injury, sexual offenses or death upon the victim
- Cause a person reasonably be in fear of physical harm
- Interfere with the performance of a governmental or a political function
- Seize control of a vehicle (airplane, train, car, bus, etc.)
Kidnapping a person under the age of 15 is an aggravating circumstance. The same applies to physically harming the victim before their release.
Based on this information, let’s examine the most popular defense strategies employed by criminal defense attorneys.
Consent on behalf of the alleged victim is the most typical option for refuting kidnapping charges. Proving the lack of intent is another common possibility. Remember – kidnapping refers to knowingly restraining another person. If the “knowingly” part is taken out of the equation, there’s no crime.
Click here for further information on Arizona kidnapping laws.
Other Possible Defenses
While these are two of the most common defense approaches adopted by criminal lawyers, other strategies can be employed whenever they match the specifics of the situation.
Kidnapping charges are often filed when parents are separating and leading a custody battle. In these scenarios, a lawyer will have to prove that the parent who had the child benefited from the legal right to do so. Having the legal right to the custody of a child or fearing physical violence on behalf of the other parent are both legitimate reasons a lawyer could use in court.
In these instances, a lawyer may also try to prove that the allegations are altogether false. Sometimes, kidnaping charges are completely fictitious and meant to hurt a person (usually, these are filed in the case of domestic disputes). In the absence of evidence, the charges will not stand too long.
Finally, a lawyer will take on procedural violations.
Law enforcement professionals have strict guidelines when it comes to the treatment and questioning of defendants. Evidence has to be collected in specific ways. A defendant will need to be read their Miranda Rights. They should also be provided with an opportunity to talk to their attorney.
Any procedural misstep will give a criminal defense attorney an opportunity to challenge the charges in court, have some of the evidence dismissed or get the charges dismissed altogether.
Kidnapping allegations can arise in numerous situations due to the broad scope of instances that could contribute to such suspicions. Parents, people who are in romantic relationships and even friends who prank each other could fall in the trap of facing kidnaping charges.
Even if the situation doesn’t seem that serious, it can have legal ramifications. Call a lawyer as soon as you can to discuss the specifics. A sound defense strategy takes time to put together and the consequences can be life-altering in its absence.
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