St. Louis Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Kidnapping is a crime that involves unlawfully taking, detaining or holding another person against their will or without their consent. It may be charged under state or federal law, depending on the circumstances. If state lines or national borders are crossed, if the victim is a government official, or in other specific situations, a defendant may face federal charges and the considerable penalties that are often enforced in the federal justice system. The serious nature of these charges warrants equally serious defense counsel, which can be found in the St. Louis federal crime attorneys at The Hammer Law Firm, LLC.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) typically investigates federal kidnapping cases, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other federal agencies may be involved as well. These agencies have considerable resources at their disposal to conduct lengthy, in-depth investigations, the results of which they will turn over to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which typically employs the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys it can find. This presents a serious problem for any defendant facing federal kidnapping charges.
Kidnapping: Definition and Penalties Under Federal Law
18 U.S. Code § 1201 defines the federal crime of kidnapping and outlines penalties that may be enforced if a defendant is convicted under this section. According to § 1201, a person who "unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof" may face federal charges if he or she does so and:
- Crosses state lines or national borders;
- Uses the mail system or any type of interstate or foreign commerce to commit the crime;
- Commits the act against a person within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.;
- The victim is a foreign official, official guest or internationally protected person; or
- The victim is an officer or employee of the U.S. government acting in his or her official duties.
Conspiracy to commit kidnapping is also a crime, punishable by up to life in prison, even if the actual kidnapping did not occur. As long as two or more people conspired to commit the crime and took some step toward its furtherance, this is considered sufficient to result in such harsh penalties.
The penalty for kidnapping as defined above is up to life in prison. If anyone's death results from the act, however, the defendant may face life imprisonment or the death penalty. The severity of charges and penalties you may face if accused of kidnapping will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense, and it will be in the hands of the federal prosecutor handling your case to determine how to proceed, within the limits of federal law.
Challenging Federal Kidnapping Charges in St. Louis, Missouri
Fortunately, the team at our firm is prepared to fight federal kidnapping charges with our own resources and experience. We are not afraid of federal prosecutors and investigators, in spite of the clout they may feel they have in these matters. Our St. Louis federal criminal defense lawyers understand our clients' rights and protect them to the fullest extent inside and outside the courtroom. If you have been accused of kidnapping or suspect that you are under investigation for any type of federal offense, do not hesitate to call our offices to involve our professionals as early as possible.
Schedule a confidential case review with a legal professional who can provide knowledgeable insight as it applies to your unique case. You have much to lose but can protect yourself with a competent attorney. Contact our St. Louis law offices today.