Kidnapping in its most typical form occurs when someone moves someone else without consent or legal authority to do so. Some accusations of kidnapping are better described as violations of a parenting time order, or sometimes even exercising parenting rights, where no parenting order exists. For purposes of this section, we start with a description of first and second degree kidnapping, and then include a description of crimes related to parenting disputes below those two sections.
First Degree Kidnapping:
First Degree Kidnapping can be described simply as kidnapping with a demand for payment or some other concession involved. Essentially, it is kidnapping that involves a demand for some sort of ransom in exchange for release of the person being detained. The ransom can take many forms. It does not necessarily have to be a demand for money.
The kidnapping itself can be accomplished by force, enticement, or imprisonment.
The statute categorizes first degree kidnapping as a class 1 felony if the person kidnapped is injured prior to release. If the kidnapped person is released unharmed prior to conviction, first degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony. As kidnapping is charged as among the most serious crimes possible in the state of Colorado, this charge should be expected to be subject to various sentence enhancers best identified and discussed directly with an attorney.
Second Degree Kidnapping:
Second degree kidnapping is similar to the description of first degree kidnapping above, only without the requirement of a ransom. The statute defining second degree kidnapping specifically requires that the kidnapped person be relocated, with the exception of those portions of the statute related to seizing children under the age of 18 years. The seizing referenced here can happen by force or by deception. Coloradans who have seized and relocated their own children have been convicted under this statute in the past, despite the fact that other statutes, described below, may better fit those circumstances.
Second degree kidnapping may be charged as a class 2 felony if the kidnapped person is a victim of a sexual offense or robbery. If a deadly weapon is used, or the threat of a deadly weapon is involved, kidnapping may be charged as a class 3 felony, and most other second degree kidnapping cases are charged as class 4 felonies. All these classifications are likely subject to extraordinary risk and crime of violence sentence enhancers.
False imprisonment is distinguished from second degree kidnapping in that the accused is not required to have relocated anyone. Knowingly detaining someone, meaning not allowing them the freedom to leave, can be charged as false imprisonment. This is charged as a class 2 misdemeanor, unless force is used to prevent the person from leaving, or the person is detained for more than twelve hours. If either of those last two possibilities are alleged, the charge would be a class 5 felony.
False imprisonment as a criminal charge does not apply to police officers acting in good faith.
Parenting Time Disputes:
Sometimes a parent will assert that their child has been kidnapped by the child’s other parent. In cases where no court order exists establishing a parenting schedule, both parents can be presumed to have equal rights to parent the child. Even if a child has resided with one parent and not the other for a long time, both parents retain equal legal rights to parent the child, unless or until a court orders otherwise.
Violation of Custody Order:
If a party to a court order establishing parenting time and responsibilities knowingly or heedlessly violates the order, that person may be charged with the crime of Violation of Custody Order. The more typical course for enforcement of a parenting time order is to pursue a contempt of court order from the court that issued the order. This is something parents can do themselves. The charging of a crime occurs at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney, usually the district attorney.
If a party to a court order is charged with this crime, it will likely be charged as a class 5 felony, unless the child is illegally removed from the country, in which case the charge could be a class 4 felony.
Enticement of a Child:
Enticement of a child applies to allegations that an accused invited or persuaded a child to any vehicle, secluded place, etc, for the purposes of sexually assaulting the child. This is charged as a class 4 felony, or a class 3 felony if it charged as a repeat offense.
Internet Luring of a Child:
Internet luring is not limited to the internet. It applies to luring by the internet, text message, or any telephone, data, or computer network. The act of luring, in this statute, consists of communicating a sexually explicit description as well as an invitation to meet for any purpose. Depending upon the specific allegations of the case, this charge can be a class 4 or class 5 felony. For more information about internet crimes generally, click here.
If you or someone you know has been charged with any variation of kidnapping or imprisonment, call our office right away. Attorney Ready’s experience in both family law and criminal defense makes him especially suited to defend charges involving family disputes and parenting roles. The police and prosecution are working hard to convict. Get to work on your best defense. Call our office at 303-993-5512 to discuss how we can help.