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When does a kidnapping become a federal offense?

Both Maryland state and federal laws define abduction, a crime more commonly referred to as kidnapping, similarly. It is described as being the involuntary removal of an individual from one place to a different one. In order to prove that someone was abducted, the person must have been taken and hidden for an illicit purpose whether it so additional crimes can be committed against them or for extortion.

Parents who take a child into their care without first procuring legal custody may be accused of having kidnapped their child as well. Although most cases that involve kidnappings tried on the state level, federal agencies are able to step in and file charges instead if certain conditions are met.

Most abductions that involve the perpetrator taking their victim over state lines are illegal on the federal level under 18 U.S.C. § 1201. Any defendant found guilty of such a crime may face as long as 20 years in prison. Parents who do not have legal custody over their child may be found guilty of kidnapping under 18 U.S.C. § 1204. In these types of cases, defendants often face three years in jail.

Parents who do not have legal custody over their child may be found guilty of kidnapping under 18 U.S.C. § 1204. In these types of cases, defendants often face three years in jail.

Any parent who takes their child out of the country without being authorized to do so may violate the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The United States and at least 80 other countries are signatories to this international civil law having to do with foreign abductions.

If you've been arrested and charged with kidnapping, then a Dunkirk federal crimes attorney can advise you of potential penalties you're looking at in your own case.

Source: FindLaw, "Kidnapping," accessed May 18, 2018

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