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Kidnapping: What is it, and when can you be accused?

Kidnapping is an illegal act that you could be accused of for a variety of reasons. For example, if you are divorced and take your child without the other parent's permission, you can be accused of parental kidnapping.

If you pick up a child from school and his parents weren't aware that you were taking him home, that could result in allegations against you as well. Confining a person under 16 to one place without that person's consent or without the person's parent's or guardian's consent is also considered kidnapping.

A person can be found guilty of kidnapping for holding a person for ransom, as a hostage or as a shield. If the person is held against his or her will to facilitate a felony or to commit harm to that person, that is also kidnapping. Holding a person in involuntary servitude is also a form of kidnapping.

The penalties you could face for kidnapping depend entirely on the kind of kidnapping that took place and the victim's health following the event. For example, if the victim is released without bodily harm, the person responsible for kidnapping the victim could be fined up to $35,000 and placed in prison for up to 20 years.

On the other hand, if the victim is not released in a safe place or has suffered great bodily harm, that could lead to a fine of $50,000 and up to 40 years in prison. The same is true if the victim was under 16.

In all cases, it's vital that you immediately defend yourself. The penalties can vary significantly, so a good defense can help.

Source: The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, "2015 Minnesota Statutes," accessed July 29, 2016

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