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Kidnapping in South Carolina

Kidnapping in South Carolina

Kidnapping is a serious criminal charge, but how is it punished in South Carolina? Keep reading to find out.


Each state has laws on kidnapping that differ in how they define the crime, and how the crime is punished.

  • Taking, confinement, or restraint. A kidnapping occurs when a person abducts, restrains, or confines another person. In some cases, if the offender confines the victim with malicious intent to harm or otherwise threaten them, they could face further penalty.
  • Movement of the victim: If a person abducts another and moves them a substantial distance away or to another state, could be considered kidnapping. It is also important to note that relocating a crime to another state could involve federal investigators. Once a crime has interstate jurisdiction, the FBI could step in.
  • Force and threats: Sometimes, force isn’t necessary for an incident to be labeled as kidnapping. If the threat of kidnapping occurs, it may be enough to trigger some states to press charges.
  • Consent: If a personconsentsto confinement, it is not kidnaping. However, if a person incapable of making their own decisions is coerced into consenting to confinement, kidnapping charges could apply.
  • Kidnapping degrees: Kidnapping charges ca have different degrees meaning depending on the degree of harm and other extenuating circumstances, the charges could be elevated.

Most kidnapping cases are prosecuted by the state but if the crime crosses state lines, federal investigation could take place.

Kidnapping Penalties

Kidnapping is an extremely serious crime that can lead to equally serious penalties. Most states register kidnapping as a felony but there are degrees of felonies that correspond to the degree of harm caused. First degree offenses are often worse than third degree felonies. As mentioned previously, if there are extenuating factors, a third degree felony could be elevated to a first degree felony.

  • Prison. Convictions can result in life sentences but most commonly a 20 year prison sentence for first degree kidnapping. Minimum sentencing guidelines require at least five years in prison.
  • Fines. In some cases, the court may order the accused to pay a fine of at least $50,000 or more especially if aggravating factors are involved.
  • Probation. The court may choose to sentence the convicted person to a probation term. During probation, the person may not participate in certain liberties like gun ownership and must report to a probation officer.

There is typically not a statute of limitations on kidnapping cases, but the prosecution must still file charges in a reasonable period of time.


If you have been charged with kidnapping, the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC can ensure that:

  • There is a follow up to the investigation and identify and obtain favorable evidence
  • If the victim is willing to submit a positive or favorable testimony it should be obtained
  • If the victim is unfavorable and unwilling to give a statement for the defense, it should still be collected for accuracy
  • If mental health is a factor in the case, a qualified expert should be called to
  • In cases where sexual assault or battery is involved, any reports of the assault should be obtained and examined thoroughly

An attorney can advise you to join counseling. Those who partake in counseling of their own accord are viewed more favorably by the court. These charges are serious, and could result in years behind bars. Do not attempt to face the court without legal counsel. The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC can help.

Contact our firm for more information.


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