While the public perception of kidnapping offenses is that the crimes are committed by strangers who are seeking to abduct children or hold victims for ransom, the truth is that many alleged offenders are directly related to their alleged victims. All kidnapping charges are felony offenses that carry serious penalties, with convictions for some crimes potentially resulting in life in prison.
Prosecutors occasionally lack the evidence to support these criminal charges in cases where lesser charges would have been more appropriate—usually when an alleged offender is accused of confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person for the purpose of committing another felony. The Florida Supreme Court noted in its 1983 decision in Faison v. State that the Fifth District Court of Appeal reasoned in its 1980 decision in Harkins v. State that if the state’s kidnapping statute “were literally applied, it would convert every first-degree robbery and every forcible rape into two life felonies.”Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Broward County, FL
If you think you might be under investigation or you were already arrested in South Florida for allegedly committing a kidnapping offense, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel for help fighting to get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. The Hoffman Firm defends clients accused of violent crimes all over Broward County, including Sunrise, Dania Beach, Miramar, Fort Lauderdale, Margate, and several surrounding areas.
Evan A. Hoffman is a skilled criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who understands how prosecutors handle these cases because of his prior experience as an Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation as soon as you call (954) 524-4474.
Fort Lauderdale Kidnapping Offenses Information Center
- How does the state prove that an alleged victim was kidnapped with the intent to commit a felony?
- What factors lead to enhanced charges when the alleged victim is a child under the age of 13?
- Where can I find more information about kidnapping crimes?
Kidnapping Penalties in Florida
Kidnapping is defined under Florida Statute § 787.01(1)(a) as “forcibly, secretly, or by threat confine, abduct, or imprison another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to” do one of the following:
- Commit or facilitate commission of any felony;
- Hold the alleged victim for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage;
- Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the alleged victim or another person; or
- Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
In its Faison v. State decision, the Florida Supreme Court approved the requirements established in Harkins v. State and the 1976 Kansas cases of State v. Buggs for interpreting whether an alleged offender unlawfully confined, abducted, or imprisoned an alleged victim against her or his will with intent to commit or facilitate commission of any felony. The three-prong test is now included in Chapter 9.1 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions and states that when alleged offender is accused of kidnapping another person with the intent to commit or facilitate the commission of any felony, the prosecutor must also prove that , the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment:
- must not be slight, inconsequential, or merely incidental to the alleged felony;
- must not be of the kind inherent in the nature of the alleged felony; and
- must have some significance independent of the alleged felony in that it makes the alleged felony substantially easier of commission or substantially lessens the risk of detection.
Kidnapping is a first-degree felony offense punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
Broward County Penalties for Kidnapping a Child Under the Age of 13
Confinement of a child under 13 years of age without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian is also a first-degree felony. When an alleged victim is a child under 13 years of age, the crime can become a life felony punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $15,000 if the alleged offender, in the course of committing the offense, commits one or more of the following:
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Exploitation of a child; or
- Forcing, compelling, or coercing another to become a prostitute;
- Human trafficking for commercial sexual activity].
- Lewd or lascivious battery;
- Lewd or lascivious conduct;
- Lewd or lascivious exhibition;
- Lewd or lascivious molestation;
- Procuring a child for prostitution;
- Sexual battery against the child;
Amber Plan | Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) — The FDLE developed a plan with state, local and private partners in 2000 to establish the Florida AMBER Alert that provides law enforcement with a tool to quickly and effectively notify the public of critical information regarding a child who has been abducted and is endangered. On this website, you can learn more about the AMBER Alert and the Missing Child Alert—an alert used when a child is missing and law enforcement has reason to believe his or her life is in danger, but there is no indication that the child has been abducted—that was established in 2003. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children — The passage of the Missing Children's Assistance Act by the United States Congress in 1984 led to the establishment of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. On this website, you can learn more about who the organization is and what they do. You can also find various legal resources and search for missing children.
Were you arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for allegedly committing a kidnapping offense in South Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Hoffman Firm first.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents clients in Pompano Beach, Cooper City, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, and many other communities in Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.