Kidnapping is every parent’s worst nightmare. You may be inclined to think it’s something that happens only on television, but the truth is that kidnapping happens more often than many may realize and in a multitude of ways.
A man from Duluth was arrested for abducting a 13-year old girl recently as she was out walking her dog. He’s being charged at this point with kidnapping, but when things like this happen, kidnapping isn’t the only crime that someone can face.
Abduction and false imprisonment are two other charges that can go along with kidnapping but may not be the crimes you think they are.
Minnesota Kidnapping Laws
Kidnapping in Minnesota is defined as a situation in which one person moves another person from one place to another or confines them without their consent or the consent of their legal guardian in cases where the victim in question is under the age of 16.
In order to be officially charged with kidnapping, an offender must have moved or confined the other person with any of the following intents:
- To hold them for reward or ransom
- To use them as a hostage or human shield
- To hold them for involuntary servitude
- To facilitation the commission of a felony or flight from the scene of a felony
- To terrorize them or commit bodily harm to them
It is important to recognize that intent is often difficult to prove in a court of law. If you have been accused of kidnapping but did not have any of the above intents, your best course of action is to seek experienced legal advice.
Penalties for an MN Kidnapping Conviction
The penalties for kidnapping in Minnesota are fairly straightforward. If you are convicted of a kidnapping charge the penalties you face are:
- Up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $35,000 if the person kidnapped was released safely and without great bodily harm being done
- Up to 40 years in prison and fines up to $50,000 if the victim was not released in a safe place, suffered bodily harm, or was under the age of 16
Minnesota Abduction Crimes
An abduction crime often meets all the hallmarks of kidnapping but differs slightly. This crime occurs when a victim is taken from their location through persuasion or coercion or with force.
This crime is similar to kidnapping but does not necessarily have an outwardly apparent gain for the abductor, and these incidents usually do not include violence. The penalty for abduction is usually one-year imprisonment and fines up to $3,000.
False Imprisonment in Minnesota
False imprisonment crimes often accompany kidnapping, as many criminal offenders restrain the person they have kidnapped in some way.
Minnesota law defines false imprisonment separately from kidnapping and classifies these crimes under two sub-categories: intentional restraint and unreasonable restraint of a child.
An act of intentional restraint is when a person knowingly and intentionally restrains or confines someone else’s child under age 18 without the consent of a legal guardian. The person accused of restraint must know they lacked the authority to do so when the crime occurred.
Unreasonable Restraint of a Child
A caretaker, parent, or legal guardian can be charged with this crime if they intentionally subject a child under age 18 to unreasonable restraint or physical confinement by means of locking, chaining, tying, or caging for long periods in a manner that is excessive in the circumstances.
False Imprisonment Penalties
If found guilty of intentional restrain, the punishment is up to three years in prison and fines of $5,000. A person found guilty of unreasonable restraint can be punished by up to one year in prison and fines of $3,000.
In either case, if bodily harm results to the child from the actions, then the penalty can be more severe, resulting in up to five years in prison and fines of $10,000.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.