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How is kidnapping punished under federal law?

As Washington residents know, there are a number of criminal offenses for which they can be charged if they find themselves accused of being on the wrong side of the law. In most cases, these alleged offenses are in violation of state law, meaning that the matter will be addressed in state court against a state prosecutor. However, in some instances, the underlying circumstances of an alleged crime may make it a federal case. In these situations, a defendant will be going to federal court, face federal prosecutors, and, more often than not, face the potential for much harsher penalties.

For example, depending on the alleged facts at hand, kidnapping can be considered a state or federal offense. Under federal law, kidnapping most often occurs when someone illegally takes or confines an individual and willfully transports them across state lines. There are, of course, other instances that can render kidnapping a federal offense. For instance, the illegal taking or confining of a foreign official is automatically deemed a federal crime.

Under Washington law, a class A felony, which some forms of kidnapping fall into, can be punishable by life in prison, but there are lesser forms that could result in much lighter penalties. On the other hand, a conviction for any type of federal kidnapping can be punishable by life in prison or even death.

Going into federal court to face serious criminal charges like this can be terrifying. Additionally, most federal prosecutors are very good at their jobs, meaning that they are ready to go to battle to try to put criminal defendants away for as long as possible. Therefore, Washington residents who find themselves facing federal charges need to carefully consider the best way to present a legally sound and compelling criminal defense.

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