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Accused of kidnapping? It may be a federal crime

What most people in Spokane know about the crime of kidnapping probably comes from television and the movies. Fortunately, stranger abductions of children are not common, nor are random abductions of adults. However, the crime of kidnapping does encompass a wide variety of actions, many of which can lead to a person being faced with federal charges.

According to the Offices of the United States Attorneys, kidnapping is an offense that falls under federal jurisdiction in several different circumstances. This includes when the victim of the kidnapping is transported willingly in interstate commerce or foreign commerce. Additional scenarios that make this offense a federal crime include when the victim is a foreign official, federal officer or an internationally protected person. A person accused of kidnapping may end up in federal court if the offense occurs within special maritime or aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.

Finally, kidnapping also has federal jurisdiction if a parent abducts their own child across international borders and the child in question is under age 16. Custodial abduction is an often-misunderstood topic, as many parents believe they cannot abduct their own child. However, child custody situations can often get out of hand and in some extreme cases parental kidnapping accusations may arise. A skilled criminal defense attorney can defend against state or federal charges.

Title 18, section 1201(g) of the U.S. code allows for strict penalties for those convicted of kidnapping children. Penalties can be extremely harsh if the victim is under age 18 and the abductor is 18 years of age or older and is not a relative or person with legal custody of the child. For answers to questions related to this serious charge, a criminal defense lawyer can be a solid resource.

Source: Office of the United States Attorneys, "Kidnapping: Federal Jurisdiction," accessed Dec. 19, 2016

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