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What is the Crime of Kidnapping in California? (Penal Code 207)


What is the Crime of Kidnapping? (Penal Code 207)

California Penal Code § 207 defines kidnapping. Kidnapping requires that the defendant
took, held, or detained another person. Force has to have been used either directly or by creating fear. A point of frequent debate is the distance that the victim is moved due to the force or fear. The law requires that the distance be “substantial” and that the movement take place primarily in reaction to the physical force or threat. There is no clear line defining movement for a substantial distance. A jury may consider the totality of the circumstances and reach a common sense conclusion. (People v. Martinez (1999) 20 Cal.4th 225, 237

In other words, is it a kidnap if a person is walking into a store who and is then confronted by a person with gun who says “go into the store”? If the person was going elsewhere the answer is “yes”. But under these facts you have an interesting legal question. Consent of the alleged victim is a defense to a kidnapping charge. There does not need to be actual consent. It is a defense to kidnap if the defendant had a reasonable belief in consent.

Kidnap is one of the most serious felony crimes. Our expert criminal defense attorneys can assist you if you are charged with kidnapping.