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“Kidnapping” is moving a victim a substantial distance, using force or fear to do so.

You violate California’s kidnapping laws, found under Penal Code 207, 208, 209 and 209.5 PC, when you move another person a substantial distance without that person’s consent by using force or fear.

“Force or fear” means that you actually inflict physical force upon the alleged victim, or that you threaten to inflict imminent physical harm.

Aggravated kidnapping

If you move another person and use force, fear or fraud upon a victim who is a child under 14 years of age, accompany the kidnapping with a demand for ransom, cause the victim to suffer serious bodily harm or death, kidnap another person while you are violating Penal Code 215 PC California’s carjacking law, or violate a number of other laws that relate to kidnapping, the offense elevates to aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is a more serious charge, a conviction for which carries life in prison.

“Simple” kidnapping is a felony, subjecting you to up to 8 years in the California state prison. Aggravated kidnapping…also a felony…carries a sentence of five years to life, depending on the facts of the case. And because kidnapping is a strike under California’s three strikes law, you must serve at least 85% of your sentence before you are eligible for release.

If you are convicted of aggravated kidnapping, you face five, eight, or eleven years in the state prison if the victim was under 14 years of age at the time of the offense, (See Penal Code 208b) imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole if you kidnap the alleged victim for

  1. ransom (that is, a payment in exchange for the alleged victim),
  2. a reward, or
  3. to commit Penal Code 518 PC extortion (more commonly referred to as blackmail),
  4. California Penal Code 211 PC robbery,
  5. a variety of California sex crimes, including
    • Penal Code 261 PC rape (which includes Penal Code 262 PC spousal rape, penetration with a foreign object, and other forced acts of sexual penetration),
    • Penal Code 288a oral copulation by force,
    • Penal Code 286 PC illegal acts of sodomy, and
    • Penal Code 288 PC lewd acts with a minor,
  6. Penal Code 215 PC carjacking, or imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole if you kidnap the alleged victim for ransom, a reward, or to commit extortion and
  7. the victim suffers death or bodily harm, or
  8. is placed in a situation that exposes that individual to a substantial likelihood of death.

Penal Code 209.5 PC prohibits kidnapping a person during the commission of a carjacking. This offense is only applicable if you move the victim beyond what is merely incidental to the carjacking, the victim is moved a substantial distance from the area of the carjacking, and the movement of the victim increases the risk of harm over and above that necessary to commit the carjacking.

If convicted of Penal Code 209.5 PC, you face life in prison with the possibility of parole. Penal Code 210 PC Kidnapping in connection with extortion California Penal Code 210 PC prohibits committing extortion by posing as a kidnapper. If you, for the purpose of obtaining ransom, reward or extortion money, pose as an individual who has either kidnapped an individual for this purpose or who has aided and abetted another person who has kidnapped an individual for this purpose, or pose as an individual who can secure a release of an individual who has been kidnapped under these circumstances, you face a felony, punishable by two, three or four years in the state prison.