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Domestic Violence and Kidnapping

In some serious DVHAN and DV 1st degree cases law enforcement may also charge a defendant with kidnapping. This is done in situations where law enforcement is trying to ensure that the prosecutor’s office has the ability to most vigorously pursue charges.

Kidnapping is a major felony. A conviction can result in up to thirty years imprisonment. It is considered a violent offense, a strike, and a no-parole offense. Additionally a conviction for kidnapping subjects the defendant to lifetime registration as a sex offender unless the judge makes a specific exception.

We see several cases a year where a domestic violence client is also charged with kidnapping. This is even in situations where there may be only a slight, or no physical injury. Regardless, this is a very drastic “add-on” to any domestic violence charge, and one that shouldn’t be ignored.

The kidnapping law is contained in S.C. Code § 16-3-910. It makes it unlawful to “seize” or “confine” any person, by any means. There is no requirement that someone is carried from place to place, held for a prolonged period of time, or kidnapped for some purpose. Simply grabbing onto someone for a few seconds in an argument, or standing in a doorway blocking an exit path, could be technically construed as kidnapping.

If you’re domestic violence case also includes a kidnapping charge you need to be extremely concerned about the possible sentence you could be facing. These are situations in which, for whatever reason, law enforcement thought were the most serious. Even a sentence of only 10-20% of the possible will be years in the Department of Corrections. Our office is hired by those who want to avoid these drastic consequences.

For cases involving kidnapping, we recommend a thorough defense.

  • The police investigation should be followed up by a defense oriented-investigation. Any favorable evidence should be identified, obtained, and preserved.
  • If the alleged victim is willing to speak favorably then that statement needs to be obtained as well.
  • If the alleged victim is unfavorable, then that statement also needs to be obtained in order to confirm its contents so that the best defense can be planned. Other witnesses should also be interviewed. Police reports don’t always contain all the information that would be helpful for the defense, and police investigations can’t be relied upon by a defense in serious cases.
  • When cases involve allegations of mental health or instability, of either the alleged victim or the defendant, use of a qualified mental health expert to advise and testify on behalf of the defense is usually in order.
  • If there is a sexual component, such as where the alleged victim reported a feared sexual assault, then a defense examination can help rule out sex-offender tendencies, minimizing the likelihood of a requirement to register as a sex offender.
  • Strong consideration must be given to the defendant enrolling in a counseling program. If the allegations are true, or partially true, then counseling will help. If the allegations are false, then counseling is also in order as it indicates the defendant participated in a dysfunctional relationship or with a dysfunctional individual. In any event, voluntary participation in counseling can help give the best chance for a dismissal, favorable reduction, or minimal sentence.

Attorney James Snell has experience in representing clients with the most serious domestic violence cases, including those resulting in a kidnapping charge. He is the author of the book “Challenging CDV”, which discusses specific strategies to help defendants in these types of cases. The first step to obtaining our office’s help is to reach out for a consultation. These cases are urgent, and we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible.

Schedule your appointment with our Lexington criminal defense attorneys. Call us today at (888) 301-6004.

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