A Long Beach man was arrested and is being charged with Kidnapping, Terrorist Threats, Domestic Assault and Brandishing a Weapon after forcing his girlfriend to drive him from Garden Grove to Santa Ana, while threatening to kill her with a knife. As a criminal defense lawyer, practicing law in Orange County California for 20 years, I have represented many individuals being charged with these types of serious charges. It has been my experience that the initial charges are many types over-charged and therefore my goal is always to have as many of the charges dropped as possible and the remaining charges either reduced to misdemeanors or dismissed altogether.
The crime of kidnapping is defined as the use of force or fear to take a person and move him or her a substantial distance. The penalty if convicted of kidnapping is up to 8 years in State Prison or more if the victim was injured or abused, if the victim was a child or if the kidnapping was done to facilitate another crime.
There are certain elements of the crime of kidnapping. They are: (1) The kidnapper took, held, or detained another person by means of force or by instilling reasonable fear; (2) Using that force or fear, the kidnapper moved the other person or made the other person move a substantial distance; and (3) The other person did not consent to the movement.
Kidnapping is considered a serious Felony and is a “Strike Crime” under California’s “Three Strikes Law“. However, there are defenses to kidnapping and a defendant is not guilty of kidnapping if he/she reasonably and actually believed that the other person consented to the movement. The prosecution has the burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant did not believe that the other person consented to the movement.
Consent is also a defense to kidnapping. If the other person consented to go with the defendant, the defendant is not guilty of kidnapping. Consent is defined as: (1) The person freely and voluntarily agreed to go with or be moved by the defendant; (2) The person was aware of the movement, and (3) The person had sufficient maturity and understanding to choose to g0 with the defendant. Again, the prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that consent was not given.
It is important to note that consent may be withdrawn. If at first the person consented to go with the defendant but later changed their mind, the defendant is guilty of kidnapping if after the other person withdrew consent, the defendant committed the crime outlined above.
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