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Domestic Violence and Kidnapping Lawyer in Lexington

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 was 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, the 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.

Lexington Kidnapping Defense Attorney

The information contained herein is designed to be applicable to those charged with Kidnapping in conjunction with Criminal Domestic Violence or DVHAN. For other kidnapping or felony cases you are welcome to visit our criminal defense website.

South Carolina's kidnapping law is contained in S.C. Code § 16-3-910. Kidnapping is a felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison and entrance on the Sex Offender Registry.

In order to be convicted of kidnapping the Solicitor's office must prove the following occurred:

  • an abduction, carrying away, confinement or detention
  • of a human being
  • without legal justification or cause

You can be convicted of kidnapping even when such is just incidental to another crime. Kidnapping charges may accompany DVHAN when allegations similar to the following scenarios are made:

  • locking or holding someone in a closet or bedroom
  • forcibly taking someone from one house to another location
  • making someone remain seated or otherwise stay in one place during an argument
  • detaining someone who is having an affair with your partner

Although kidnapping may occur by force it can also be accomplished by restraint (such as locking or blocking a door) or by trick or deceit (called inveigling). There is no requirement that the episode last a certain period of time, even the briefest of detention or holding can qualify as kidnapping under South Carolina law.

Police sometimes charge individuals with kidnapping in addition the CDV as a way of trying to give the prosecutor an advantage when the case goes to Court. This strategy can result in individuals being charged with kidnapping even when the facts of what actually occurred do not meet the legal requirements.

Kidnapping and the Sex Offender Registry

The South Carolina Sex Offender Registry is a public database of those convicted (either by guilty plea or trial) of a sexual offense. This list is associated primary with child molesters and sexual predators. Once someone is placed on the list it is usually for life. Individuals have to continually update their information with their County Sheriff's Department or face additional criminal charges.

Individuals convicted of kidnapping (either by guilty plea or after a trial) are placed on the Sex Offender Registry by default. The only way this can be avoided is if the sentencing judge makes a specific ruling that the kidnapping was not related to any sexual offense. If an alleged victim is under eighteen years of age the registry is mandatory.

In many cases it is easy to demonstrate that a kidnapping is not sexually related. An easy example may be a bank robber taking hostages during a police standoff. When kidnapping accompanies a DVHAN charge, this may be more difficult. Since the alleged victim is usually a current or former spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend there is some existing history of sexual activity. It is therefore important that the defense not only involve all available defenses to the general charge but also to the presumption that there was a sexual motivation or intent.

Confidential Consultations Available

If you or a loved one has been charged with Kidnapping, Criminal Domestic Violence or any other serious crime you may schedule a confidential consultation with our office. Please call (803) 359-3301.

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