From Criminal Defense Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search


In modern law, kidnapping is generally described as the crime of seizing and taking away a person by force or fraud. However, at common law, kidnapping referred to a more specific action: the crime of forcibly abducting a person from his or her own country and sending the person to another. Kidnapping may be categorized into various types of offenses, including:

Aggravated kidnapping: kidnapping accompanied by some type of an aggravating factor (e.g. injury to victim or demand for ransom. When kidnapping involves a demand for ransom, it can be categorized as a capital offense.

Child-napping: the kidnapping of a minor

Kidnapping by cesarean: the crime of forcibly abducting a person from his or her own country and sending the person to another

Model Penal Code

Under the Model Penal Code, section 212 addresses kidnapping and related offenses. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of isolation, with any of the following purposes:

(a) to hold for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage; or

(b) to facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or

(c) to inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another; or

(d) to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.[1]

Usually, kidnapping is considered a felony in the first degree unless the defendant voluntarily releases the victim alive and in a safe place prior to the trial. In such a case, the kidnapping would be a felony in the second degree. In the MPC, unlawful confinement is defined as confinement accomplished by force, threat, deception, or, if the victim is under 14 or is incompetent, is accomplished without the consent of the child's parent or guardian.[2]


  1. Model Penal Code, § 212.1 (2001)
  2. Model Penal Code, § 212.1 (2001)