Kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment, whether they relate to minors or adults, are heavy charges: with very few exceptions, they are classified as felonies by the New York Penal Code. If you or a loved one is facing these allegations, it is critical that you retain a knowledgeable, seasoned New York City kidnapping attorney to defend your case in court against huge fines and lengthy prison sentences.
Dietrich P. Epperson has accumulated years of real-world experience in the New York legal system handling a wide variety of charges — many of which were successfully defended or ended in drastically minimized penalties. The legal, financial, and social ramifications of a kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment conviction are severe. Don’t let yourself fall through the cracks — call (347) 561-0025 today.
Kidnapping and Related Charges in New York
In New York, offenses pertaining to kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment are handled by Article 135 of the New York Penal Law. Some of the more common charges Epperson Attorneys defend covered in Article 135 include unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, and labor trafficking. At best, a defendant is typically looking at a Class A Misdemeanor — and at worst, a charge that, without swift and skilled legal intervention, counts as an A-I Felony. A-I Felonies are the worst possible charges — assigned to crimes like First Degree murder, and operating as a major drug trafficker.
New York Penal Law Article 135 covers two levels of kidnapping offenses: Kidnapping in the Second Degree, and Kidnapping in the First Degree. Section 135.20 defines the former in very brief, straightforward terms: “A person is guilty of Kidnapping in the Second Degree when he abducts another person.” Not only is it a Class B Felony, in the state of New York, it is classified more specifically as a violent felony. Violent felonies result in harsher penalties than non-violent felonies. A violent Class B Felony mandates a minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of 25 years.
Kidnapping in the First Degree — a Class A-I Felony — has more complex requirements, only one of which needs to be met. Specifically:
- The intent of the kidnapping was that a third party pay ransom money, or perform/not perform a given act.
- The abducted individual was restrained for at least 12 hours in order to injure, terrorize, or otherwise incapacitate that individual.
- The adbucted individual died during their captivity.
Unlawful imprisonment differs from kidnapping in that the victim is not abducted, but restrained. Section 135.00 of Article 135 partially defines restraint as “restricting a person’s movements intentionally and unlawfully in such manner as to interfere substantially with his liberty by moving him from one place to another.” (Adbuction, the qualifier for kidnapping, takes restraint to another level by adding that deadly physical force was threatened, or that the victim was deliberately restrained in a place where they were unlikely to be found.)
Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree is a charge typically brought when an individual is accused of restraining another individual, and is graded as a Class A Misdemeanor. First Degree Unlawful Imprisonment is a more serious offense as a Class E Felony, and is differentiated from the Second Degree by the additional factor of the restrained individual being exposed to the risk of serious physical harm. A non-violent Class E Felony can result in up to four years of prison.
Under Article 135, the crime of labor trafficking is not broken down by degrees: it is simply labor trafficking. A charge of labor trafficking entails that an individual “compels or induces another to engage in labor, or recruits, entices, harbors, or transports such another person” by a variety of means, including:
- Giving the victim drugs or alcohol to make them more compliant and cloud their judgment.
- Confiscating, destroying, or withholding a passport or some other form of government identification necessary for freedom of movement.
- Using physical force.
- Threatening to expose information that would be detrimental to the victim’s daily life, or threatening to cause either: serious injury or death; property damage; imprisonment or deportation; or a criminal accusation against the victim.
If you or someone you know is facing allegations of labor trafficking, kidnapping, or unlawful imprisonment, you need to act fast. Contact Dietrich P. Epperson today to arrange for a free, confidential case evaluation.