Kidnapping / False Imprisonment
The offense of kidnapping and the lesser included offense of false imprisonment are serious offenses charged under the laws of the State of Florida. The defense attorneys at the law firm of DMT have represented numerous clients charged with both kidnapping and false imprisonment. Kidnapping is considered to be a crime of violence. To prove the charge of kidnapping, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution must prove that a defendant used force or the threat of force to confine, abduct or imprison another person against their will with no lawful authority. Most importantly, to prove the offense of kidnapping, the prosecution must prove one of the four following elements. They must show that the defendant acted with the intent (1) to hold a victim for ransom or reward or used the victim as a shield or hostage or (2) to commit the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment to assist in the commission of a felony (3) inflict bodily harm upon or terrorize the victim or (4) interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
Kidnapping is not an easy charge for the prosecution to prove because they must also show that the confinement, abduction or imprisonment was not slight, inconsequential or merely incidental during the commission of the felony. The charge of kidnapping will not stand up in court if the confinement, abduction or imprisonment was the kind inherent in the nature of the felony and that the kidnapping did not make the commission of the underlying felony easier to commit or lessen the risk of detection. Kidnapping is a first degree felony punishable up to life in prison. A kidnapping charge can be enhanced to automatic life in prison if the victim is under 13 years of age and the defendant also commits child abuse, sexual battery or lewd and lascivious behavior on the child victim. Kidnapping charges can also be enhanced if a firearm was used in the commission of the offense. If a firearm was used, the applicable 10/20/Life sentencing laws subject a defendant to even more prison time with minimum mandatory sentences. With the stakes so high, it is imperative to retain a Miami criminal law defense firm with experience in defending kidnapping charges in Florida state courts.
False imprisonment is a lesser included offense which carries significantly less prison time than kidnapping. False imprisonment differs from kidnapping because the prosecution merely has to prove that a defendant by force or threat confined, abducted, imprisoned or restrained a victim against their will with no lawful authority. The additional elements under the kidnapping statute do not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution. False imprisonment, nevertheless, is still considered a crime of violence. False imprisonment is a second degree felony punishable up to fifteen years in prison. However, under the State of Florida Sentencing Guidelines Offense Severity Ranking Chart, false imprisonment does not score out to mandatory state prison. The lawyers have been successful in getting false imprisonment charges dismissed on many occasions. First time offenders are looking at a pre-trial intervention program or probation in a worst case scenario.
If you are under investigation for, or have been arrested and charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment, contact the Miami criminal lawyers at DMT. An experienced criminal attorney is available every day of the year, 24 hours a day to speak with you regarding your situation. Allow us the opportunity to help protect your rights and defend you case and you will not be disappointed. You can call our office at (305) 444-0030 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e-mail.