Kidnapping is a very serious criminal offense and is one of the worst as per the New York criminal code. The act involves a person holding and restraining another in a hidden location against their will. In the state of New York, there are two degrees of kidnapping per the state code. Those include kidnapping in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degree.
What is Kidnapping in the First Degree in New York?
Both first and second degree kidnapping are serious crimes, with second degree kidnapping involving the abduction of another person. That is the first charge a person can receive when they are arrested and charged with kidnapping. However, under New York’s Penal Law § 135.25, this crime can be elevated to first degree kidnapping if the following are in place:
• The kidnapper demands a ransom
• The kidnapping victim dies
• The kidnapping victim is held for over 12 hours so that the perpetrator can physically or sexually assault or injure them, terrorize a third person, commit another felony or interfere with some sort of governmental performance or political situation
For example, if a man seeks help from a trusted person to kidnap a child while knowing the parents are rich and demands a ransom for the child’s safe return, both people can be charged with first degree kidnapping.
Likewise, if a man kidnapped a woman and held her captive in an undisclosed location for 24 hours and repeatedly raped her, it would be considered kidnapping in the first degree.
Possible Defenses for Kidnapping in the First Degree in New York
A person who is arrested and charged with the crime of kidnapping in the first degree in the state of New York needs to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as the charges are very serious. As a result, the penalties they can face are severe. A lawyer can help to build a strong defense for the individual. One of the more important ones is to claim that the kidnapping was done with the consent of the victim. If the defense is found in the defendant’s favor, they may have the charges against them reduced to kidnapping in the second degree. Under the Penal Law, another defense that can be used is that the individual is a relative of the person who was kidnapped and the reason behind the abduction was to control that person.
Sentencing for Kidnapping in the First Degree in New York
The crime of kidnapping in the first degree is charged as a class A-1 felony. Generally speaking, a person who is convicted of this crime can end up spending the rest of their life in prison. The minimum prison sentence for first degree kidnapping can range anywhere from a minimum of 15 years to a maximum of 40 years.
When is a Person Guilty of Kidnapping the First Degree Per the New York Penal Code 135.25?
In general, a person can be found guilty of kidnapping in the first degree in the state of New York when they abduct someone else and the following is in place:
• The kidnapper intends to make a third party give them money or property in the form of ransom or intends to engage in a specific conduct or avoid engaging in certain conduct
• The kidnapper restrains the person for over 12 hours while intending to physically injure or sexually assault them, commit a felony, interfere with a government or political action or situation or terrorize a third party
• The person who has been kidnapped passes away at some point while the abduction is occurring or before being returned to a safe situation or place. If the victim is under 16 years of age or incompetent and was unable to communicate with their parents or legal guardians, it is a sign that the kidnapper is directly responsible for the death and that the person would not have died had they not been abducted.