Abduction or Kidnapping
People often think that abduction means taking someone against their will. However, abduction is defined in a much broader way depending on the circumstances. In Virginia, abduction is governed by two statutes.
Abduction under Va. Code § 18.2-47
This law defines abduction as the seizing, taking, transporting, detaining or secreting another person “by force, intimidation or deception, and without legal justification or excuse.” The law also requires that you have either
- the intent to deprive such other person of his personal liberty or to withhold or conceal him from any person, authority or institution lawfully entitled to his charge; or
- the intent to subject him to forced labor or services.
Abduction under this law is punishable with up to 10 years in prison.
This is the most common type of abduction. This definition of abduction includes taking someone against their will, but it's broader than that. It also includes detaining someone against their will. A common example of this would be an abduction in the course of a robbery. When the victim is held against their will during or after a robbery, the prosecution can sometimes bring a charge of abduction.
Abduction under Va. Code § 18.2-48
This law deals specifically with abduction with intent to extort money or defile the person. Abduction under this statute is broken down into five parts:
- Abduction with the intent to extort money or pecuniary benefit,
- Abduction of any person with intent to defile such person,
- Abduction of any child under sixteen years of age for the purpose of concubinage or prostitution,
- Abduction of any person for the purpose of prostitution, or
- Abduction of any minor for the purpose of manufacturing child pornography
The most common type of abduction under this statute is Abduction with the Intent to Defile. Defile basically means some kind of sexual offense. If someone is taken against their will or detained against their will for the purpose of committing a sexual offense against them, that can be charged as Abduction with the Intent to Defile.
Abduction under any of these parts is punishable as a Class 2 felony, which carries a prison sentence of 20 years to life. Also, if the sentence imposed for violation of parts (ii) through (v) is less than life, the has to impose a suspended sentence of no less than 40 years that is subject to revocation by the court for the remainder of your life.
What is the difference between kidnapping and abduction?
Normally, kidnapping means the holding of someone against their will with a ransom for money or other gains. Abduction is when a person has been taken away from his or her original location or detained against their will by persuading him or her, by some act of fraud or with a forceful way that may include violence.
Under Va. Code § 18.2-47 the terms “abduction” and “kidnapping” are synonymous. Sometimes when a person is charged with abduction, the charging documents would describe it as either or both. It's the definition of the act under the statute that controls, not whether the charge says abduction or kidnapping.
Can I be convicted of abduction if the detention was brief?
Yes. It does not matter if you detain someone for even the briefest of moments. If the detention meets the definition of abduction, then you can be legally convicted.
Can I be convicted of abduction and another crime?
It depends. This question often comes up in cases in which there was an underlying offense such as a sexual assault or robbery. If someone is being sexually assaulted or robbed, naturally an abduction also occurs because the person is being held against their will. In this scenario, the abduction is incidental to the sexual assault or robbery. You cannot be charged with both. The prosecution has to elect which crime they want to charge. However, if the sexual assault or robbery is completed, and then the person is still detained against their will, then they can charge abduction as well as the underlying offense.
Charlottesville Abduction Defense Lawyer
What constitutes abduction and whether abduction can be charged with an underlying offense is not always clear. You need an attorney who has experience with defending clients accused of abduction. Such an attorney can make sure you get the best outcome in your case. Bryan J. Jones is committed to his clients and will develop a defense strategy tailored just for you. Contact Bryan J. Jones, LLC today.