Kidnapping Charges in Arizona: What You Need to Know About ARS 13-1304
According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-1304, kidnapping is the crime of knowingly restraining and/or holding captive another person of any age or gender. Generally, kidnapping is just one part of a more in-depth and complicated crime or plot — it is most often used as a means to obtain a ransom or something else the captor wants from the loved ones of the person they have captured.
In other instances, however, the kidnapper may have restrained the person for other reasons, such as to use them as a hostage or human shield during the commission of another crime, such as a robbery or other felony offense. And in still other cases, kidnapping is the beginning of a much darker fate for the captive, involving rape, slavery, sexual trafficking, or even simply to inflict pain, grievous harm, or even to kill them.
However, all of these scenarios aside, kidnapping charges often arise based on simple misunderstandings between two people or divorced or estranged parents who aren’t following the guidelines of their visitation agreements — or they may not even have an agreement in place, and what ensues is a wholly unnecessary criminal charge.
Potential Penalties and Sentencing for Kidnapping Charges in Arizona
The punishments for kidnapping charges in Arizona vary quite a bit because it is a crime that includes a multitude of varying charges based on the severity of the surrounding circumstances, such as whether or not a weapon was used in the commission of the crime, what type of weapon was used if so, and other circumstances, such as whether or not the alleged kidnapper has been previously convicted of other misdemeanor or felony charges.
What’s more, with the crime of kidnapping, in the state of Arizona, there is no early release or “time off” for good behavior while incarcerated. For these reasons and more, having a highly experienced criminal attorney who is knowledgeable about kidnapping charges is critical to ensuring the kind of defense you need to have your charges dramatically reduced.
Sentencing for Kidnapping Without Injury to the Victim
As long as there was no weapon used, and as long as there was no physical injury to the victim of the kidnapping upon release, and so long as the victim is released in a place deemed by law enforcement as safe, the kidnapping will be charged as a class 4 felony, but punishments will vary depending on whether or not any deadly instruments were involved, even if the alleged victim is not harmed.
- If there was a deadly weapon or other dangerous instrument used in the commission of the kidnapping crime, sentencing will be a minimum of four years and a maximum of 8 years in prison.
- If the convicted kidnapper has one prior conviction of a dangerous nature, the sentence goes up to a minimum of 8 years and a maximum of 12 years in prison.
- If the convicted kidnapper has two prior dangerous felony convictions, the sentence changes once again to a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 16 years in prison.
- Finally, if there were no deadly weapons used in the commission of the kidnapping crime, and it is the accused’s first offense, s/he may only have to serve up to one year in jail, or between 1 and 3.75 years in prison depending on the other surrounding circumstances of the crime.
Sentencing for Kidnapping a Child of 15 Years of Age or Less
- Kidnapping Sentencing When the Victim is Under the Age of 15 When the alleged victim of kidnapping is under the age of 15 years, a first offense kidnapping sentence can range from 10 to 24 years in prison.
- If the person charged with the same crime has one prior conviction for a DACA (Dangerous Crime Against a Child), sentencing changes from a minimum 21-year sentence up to 35 years in prison.
- With two or more DACA convictions, the person charged can expect to spend a mandatory life sentence in prison for the crime of kidnapping a minor under 15 years of age.
Sentencing for Kidnapping that Involved a Deadly Weapon
- For those kidnapping charges that involved the use of a deadly weapon, including guns, knives, blunt objects such as bats or clubs, or even a simulated gun, sentencing can range from 7 to 21 years in prison for the first offense of kidnapping.
- For kidnappings that involved a deadly weapon (as described above) that occurred after the suspect has been charged with any other conviction, sentencing can range from a minimum of 14 to a maximum of 28 years in prison.
- In cases where a kidnapping has been charged and the person has been previously charged with two other convictions, sentencing starts at a minimum of 21 years and a maximum of 35 years in prison.
Kidnapping is Among the Most Over-Charged Felonies in Arizona, and Requires a Well Thought-Out Defense
Because kidnapping charges involve facts and circumstances that are serious in nature to charges brought simply from one parent against another, the courts deal with more than just a few cases of kidnapping in varying degrees of severity. But regardless of how serious your charges are, as you can see based on the sentencing schedules, it’s a crime that’s not taken lightly by the state of Arizona, and for that reason and many others, will require a seasoned defense team that can work tirelessly on your behalf to lessen the charges against you or even get them dismissed.
In many cases, charges of kidnapping are simply false allegations, but to convince a judge and jury of this, you’ll need a veteran attorney of kidnapping cases on your side who understands the nuances of Arizona kidnapping law, its loopholes, the places where the prosecution typically falters, and what pieces of evidence are going to need to be showcased in a court of law to best establish your innocence.
In many cases, charges of kidnapping are simply false allegations, but to convince a judge and jury of this, you’ll need a veteran attorney of kidnapping cases on your side who understands the nuances of Arizona kidnapping charges
Your Best Chances in Court: Having a Lawyer Who Understands Kidnapping Charges Based on Years of Experience
At its core, a kidnapping charges cannot stick if the prosecution is unable to prove your intent to achieve the goals that are most notably associated with kidnapping, including most commonly ransom, slavery, or any number of sexual offenses. It’s important to understand that simply physically restraining a person — in the state of Arizona — is not enough to successfully bring forth a conviction for kidnapping.
At its core, a kidnapping charges cannot stick if the prosecution is unable to prove your intent to achieve the goals that are most notably associated with kidnapping, including most commonly ransom, slavery, or any number of sexual offenses.
If, for example, you are a parent of divorce who picked up your child from school without notifying an estranged ex-spouse with whom you have broken a visitation agreement, proving that you were planning to hold that child for ransom or that you mean to do any harm at all to your own child is going to be nay to impossible to prove in most cases. But that does not mean that an angry ex-spouse or unwed other parent of a shared child won’t try to have the book thrown at you in court — and being as prepared for this as possible is the only way to absolutely ensure that charges of kidnapping won’t have a chance to stick.
There are many things that can go wrong for the prosecution in their fervor to charge you with the severest of kidnapping crimes — these are the very bungles that it is your defense’s job to root out and use as part of your defense — everything from not being properly Mirandized to being denied your right to counsel right away to calling into question the validity of a search warrant and so much more.
An Experienced Kidnapping Attorney in Phoenix Who Can Start Helping Right Away
To have the best chance of uncovering these mistakes on the part of the prosecution, you will have to have the kind of attorney who is willing to aggressively represent you — and do all of the extensive homework required to ensure the absolute best outcome for your case.
The Law Office of Daniel Hutto has just these kinds of criminal defense attorneys at the ready to serve you and ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome for your kidnapping charges. Let’s start building your defense today with a skilled Arizona kidnapping lawyer who has worked with dozens or more cases just like yours. To get your free legal consultation with one of our kidnap charge specialty attorneys, dial 602.536.7878 today.
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