Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Charges

Kidnapping and false imprisonment are crimes that involve physical restraint and intrude on the liberty or interests of the victim(s).


Kidnapping is where you forcibly (or by using fear/intimidation) move another person a substantial distance. It can become aggravated kidnapping if you cause serious injury to the victim or demand a ransom. In most jurisdictions, kidnapping has the elements of criminal act, criminal intent, causation, harm, and an attendant circumstance. Jurisdictions vary as to how they grade kidnapping. The Model Penal Code grades kidnapping as a felony of the first or second degree (Model Penal Code § 212.1). Many states divide kidnapping into degrees or grade it as simple and aggravated (N.R.S. § 200.310, 2011).

False Imprisonment

In many jurisdictions, false imprisonment, also called felonious restraint, is a lesser included offense of kidnapping. This means that the crime of false imprisonment is missing one or two of the kidnapping elements and is graded lower than kidnapping. Often, false imprisonment functions as a partial defense to kidnapping because of the less serious sentencing options. In general, false imprisonment and felonious restraint under the Model Penal Code require confinement but not asportation (Model Penal Code §212.2; 18 Pa. C. S. § 2903, 2011). In some jurisdictions, false imprisonment requires only general intent or knowingly to commit the criminal act, rather than the specific intent or purposely to commit other crimes, harm the victim, or receive a ransom (720 ILCS § 5/10-3, 2011).


  • Kidnapping is a felony punishable by up to 8 years in prison.
  • Aggravated kidnapping is a felony that can range from 5 years to life in prison.
  • Because kidnapping is considered a violent crime, you are subject to a strike on your record under California’s Three Strikes law.

Contact Us

If you find yourself charged with kidnapping, please contact our attorneys on our website or call us directly at (559) 233-5333.