Kidnapping is a Serious Crime in Oklahoma
Kidnapping is always a serious crime, and Oklahoma courts in particular prosecute the crime harshly.
In Oklahoma, kidnapping is defined as seizing, confining, inveigling, abducting, or carrying a person away without legal authority to do so, with the intent to either confine a person against their will, to send them out of state against their will, to hold them for some sort of service, or to sell that person into slavery. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 741
Kidnapping is one of the possible crimes that a person who abducts a child can be charged with. Because it also can lead to violence, injury or death of the victim, other charges also may be brought once a kidnapper is caught.
The kidnapping of a child can also occur when a parent removes the child from the state without permission of the other parent. This can happen when parents are separated or divorced. This kind of kidnapping may be inadvertent, but still in violation of the law.
Kidnapping can occur when a person is held for ransom, or to force another person to do or not to do something. It is also what we consider to be human trafficking. Sex trafficking is a growing crime in the United States. In some ways, it is the new American slavery.
As such, courts take this crime seriously.
Kidnapping for any purpose in Oklahoma is a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Consent of the person to the kidnapping is not a valid defense, unless the person is over the age of 12 and the consent was not obtained with the use of threat or duress. It is also considered to be kidnapping if the kidnapper used fraud to induce the consent to confinement.
If the kidnapping involved sexual abuse or exploitation, the offender will be mandated to post-imprisonment supervision once he or she is released from prison, unless the offender was sentenced to life in prison or life in prison without parole.
Because this is a specific intent crime, if you do not have the requisite intent specified in the statute, the prosecution may not be able to prove kidnapping. The intent must be specific:
- to either confine a person against their will,
- to send them out of state against their will,
- to hold them for some sort of service,
- or to sell that person into slavery.
If none of these intents are present, there is no kidnapping.
The other possible defense lies in the issue of acting lawfully. Kidnapping only occurs when the carrying away is unlawful. If you are acting under the color of authority, there is no crime.
For instance, Henry is a friend of the family. Jane, Annie’s mom, asks Henry to pick up Annie from play practice. Annie’s mom heads out to the store. Annie’s dad doesn’t know that Jane has asked Henry to pick Annie up. Henry runs a couple of errands after he picks up Annie, and so is later bringing him home that was initially anticipated.
Annie’s dad is worried and calls the police. The police spot Annie and Henry and decide to take Henry into custody. Because Henry has permission, he is acting lawfully, and so has a defense to the crime of kidnapping.
If you are facing kidnapping charges, you should hire an experienced Claremore criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Explore your possible defenses with your attorney as he or she guides you through the legal system and protects your freedom.
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