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Can you help me understand federal kidnapping charges?

Kidnapping is a criminal offense that can fall under either state or federal law, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Typically, kidnapping is considered a federal offense if a person is taken against his or her will and transported across state lines. However, other present factors can render a kidnapping a federal offense. For example, if the alleged abductor uses an instrument of interstate commerce in furtherance the offense, then it may fall under federal jurisdiction.

An individual may also be charged with a federal offense if the alleged kidnapping occurred in maritime jurisdiction of the U.S. or in the U.S's aircraft jurisdiction. A federal charge may also be levied against an accused individual if the offense involved a foreign diplomat or foreign guest.

Being subjected to federal crime charges like kidnapping is serious business. A criminal conviction for the offenses mentioned above could result in imprisonment for up to 20 years. If a kidnapping involves a child under the age of 18, and the alleged perpetrator is not a family member, then the minimum penalty is 20 years imprisonment. These lengthy sentences can drastically change an individual's life, rendering it difficult to get back to normal life.

It can be frightening when one discovers that he or she is facing a criminal charge, especially when a conviction could carry long-term consequences. However, if you are facing such allegations, you do not have to face them alone. Instead, you can acquire the help of an experienced California defense attorney who will do everything in his or her power to protect your legal rights.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code § 1201 - Kidnapping," accessed on Nov. 16, 2014

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