Abduction and kidnapping charges are serious in Virginia. A Richmond abduction defense lawyer can answer your questions and help you defend your case. Understanding your abduction charges is the first step to hiring a kidnapping lawyer and winning your case.
What is Abduction?
According to Virginia law, abduction can include several scenarios:
- A person who takes another person while intending to deprive that person of their liberty is guilty of abduction.
- A person who takes another person while intending to conceal that person from another is guilty of abduction.
- A person who illegally forces, deceives, or takes another person and forces the abductee into labor is guilty of abduction.
- A parent who takes another person while intending to conceal that person from another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and contempt of court, and in some cases, they may receive a Class 6 felony charge.
The law leaves many scenarios where you could be charged with abduction or kidnapping in Richmond. However, it does not apply to law enforcement officers when they are performing their duties.
Why Choose Us?
If you or a loved one has been accused of abduction, hiring an experienced defense firm can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.
Abduction penalties can be harsh. A knowledgeable and caring Richmond kidnapping lawyer can ensure that you receive a fair trial and that the court fully understands the reasons behind your actions.
Cody Villalon is a Richmond-based criminal defense attorney. He will guide you through your abduction charges and help you formulate a strong defense. Abduction defense lawyer Cody Villalon will fight for your well-being and aggressively defend you in court.
We have helped many past clients overcome serious criminal charges. In our clients’ own words, they have described us as:
- “A beacon of hope”
- “The best lawyer I have spoken with”
- “Upstanding, honest, real, and kind”
- “5 stars isn’t enough; he deserves 100 stars”
- “Above and beyond for my family”
- “Very comfortable to talk to, and you could tell he really cared about your case.”
We work in Richmond and the surrounding counties and are available for jail visits.
We offer our clients a free consultation where we can discuss your case and you can learn more about us. Call us at 804.316.0765 to arrange your consultation with our kidnapping and abduction defense lawyer.
Types of Abduction
In Virginia, there are two main types of kidnapping cases: those that involve parents taking their children and cases that involve strangers abducting people.
Abduction by Parent
Sometimes a parent may abduct their own child. This commonly happens when the parents fight over custody or child support. A parent who abducts their child could face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the details of their case. Crossing state lines during a child abduction can increase the severity of the charges. If facing such charges, consulting with a Richmond misdemeanor charge lawyer might be crucial to understanding one’s rights and options.
Abduction by Stranger
In this situation, the abductee may be a child or an adult. The abductor usually takes the person in an attempt to extort money from parents or others, or for other illegal reasons, such as trafficking. This incredibly serious charge could result in a felony conviction and life imprisonment. If you’re facing legal issues related to such charges, it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced legal professional. Consider reaching out to a skilled Richmond felony lawyer to protect your rights and navigate the legal process effectively.
Regardless of the type of abduction or kidnapping you have been charged with, it is important to speak with an experienced kidnapping defense attorney in Richmond.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Kidnapping and Abduction
A kidnapping or abduction charge is a serious allegation. You may have questions if the authorities have charged you or a loved one with abduction. The following are commonly asked questions and answers from our kidnapping attorney.
Under Virginia statute § 18.2-47, the law uses the terms kidnapping and abduction interchangeably. Different types of abductions and kidnappings may trigger different penalties. However, you can refer to each of these crimes as an abduction or kidnapping.
Virginia law lists custodial interference under the same article as kidnapping and related offenses. However, the statute does not specifically refer to custodial interference as kidnapping or abduction.
Yes, a parent can be accused of abduction. Parents are frequently associated with child abductions. In 2020, 60% of all amber alerts were issued for family abduction cases.
The main Virginia statute for kidnapping is § 18.2-47, where abduction and kidnapping are defined and punishments listed.
In Virginia, felonies do not have a statute of limitations. The government has the right to pursue the prosecution of a felon for an unlimited amount of time. Felony kidnappings never expire. However, the state may charge some kidnappings as a misdemeanor. Virginia misdemeanors carry a statute of limitations of one year. After one year, the authorities can no longer arrest you for the misdemeanor of kidnapping.
The most common reason for a child to be abducted is parental abduction. These situations may involve a heated divorce or custody battle. One parent may kidnap the child if they lose custody or to prevent the other parent from winning custody. This is one reason why threats of kidnapping are illegal in Richmond.
You are not required to hire a lawyer to defend against abduction charges. Some people choose to represent themselves in court. However, this can be a challenging task. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer will understand the intricacies of Richmond kidnapping laws and the local court system. They can help you choose the most promising defense and conduct the necessary research to support your claims. Hiring a lawyer may be the right decision when the penalty can cost you years in prison.
Our lawyer tailored these answers to our general audience. If you would like a Richmond abduction defense lawyer to answer your questions and provide a quick case evaluation, contact Cody Villalon, Attorney at Law.
What Is Custodial Kidnapping?
Custodial kidnapping, sometimes called parental kidnapping, occurs when one parent takes children elsewhere without the other parent’s consent. A parent may initiate a custodial kidnapping to cut off the other parent’s contact with their child, despite that parent’s custodial rights. Parental kidnapping is most likely to occur in high-conflict divorce and custody cases.
Custodial kidnapping differs from custodial interference, although both are charges a parent could face. In Virginia, custodial interference can refer to two illegal actions. The first is when someone withholds a child from the child’s parent or legal guardian in violation of a court order. The second is when someone purposefully violates a child custody or visitation court order. If you believe you are facing such charges, it may be wise to consult with a violent offense charge lawyer to understand your rights and defenses.
Nearly five percent of children in this country have experienced a custodial kidnapping. In 90% of the cases, the child was abducted by a parent; the abductor was another family member in the remaining 10% of the cases.
Possible Penalties for Abduction
Virginia law details the penalties for abduction and kidnapping. These punishments depend on the charge, which can range from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The state normally charges abduction as a Class 5 felony. However, certain factors can increase or decrease the severity of the charges. For example:
- When the abductor is a parent who removes the abducted person from Virginia, the crime is charged as a Class 6 felony.
- The state charges a Class 2 felony in the following situations: 1) when the abduction is conducted to extort money; 2) when the abduction involves an intent to prostitute a child under 16 years old. Threatening these actions results in a Class 5 felony.
- A Class 3 felony occurs when a prisoner abducts a person.
Virginia law punishes these felonies in the following manner:
- Class 2 felonies: Imprisonment for between 20 years and life and a fine of up to $100,000
- Class 3 felonies: Imprisonment for between 5 and 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000
- Class 5 felonies: Imprisonment for between 1 and 10 years or confinement in jail for up to twelve months and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Class 6 felonies: Imprisonment for between 1 and 5 years and a fine of up to $2,500.
If a parent commits an abduction without additional aggravating factors that is punishable by contempt of court, that parent can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor along with contempt of court.
Once the family of the kidnapped child learns of the abduction, they should immediately report the crime to law enforcement officers. Failure to do so will result in a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The punishments for these crimes are detailed under Virginia law as follows:
A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by both or either of the following: up to 12 months’ confinement in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
A Class 2 misdemeanor is punishable by both or either of the following: up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Defenses for Kidnapping
A good defense can mean the difference between walking free and a lengthy prison sentence. Potential defenses that your Richmond abduction defense lawyer may use for your case include the following:
- The victim consented to the purported kidnapping.
- Someone forced you to kidnap the victim.
- You were a law enforcement officer acting within your official capacity.
- The state made errors in their case.
Your abduction lawyer can use these defenses and others to have your charges reduced or dismissed. Contact a criminal defense attorney today to learn more.
How We Can Help
You need to act quickly if you have been charged with kidnapping in Richmond, VA. You have a limited amount of time to secure an experienced trial lawyer. Your lawyer will have limited time to prepare your defense and argue your case in court. The faster you secure legal counsel, the more time they will have to prepare a stronger defense.
Our Richmond abduction defense lawyer can help. Contact Cody Villalon at 804.316.0765 to discuss your abduction charges today.