A conviction for the crime of kidnapping is very serious and the penalties are harsh. If you are convicted of this crime in Nevada, you may face a lifelong prison sentence, but even shorter sentences come with the unshakable stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life. Anyone who has been charged with kidnapping, of any degree, should seek an experienced attorney right away. There are many nuances to a charge of this nature and building a proper defense can become complicated and take time.
An Explanation of the Degrees of Kidnapping in Nevada
Contrary to a federal kidnapping charge, which is not divided into degrees, Nevada breaks this crime into first or second degree charges. The difference is primarily in the intention of and acts that occur during the kidnapping and during the time in which someone is held against their will.
First Degree Kidnapping
This is defined in NRS 200.310 as an act in which a person willfully seizes, confines, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away a person by any means whatsoever with the intent to hold or detain them for ransom, reward, committing sexual assault, extortion, robbery or to kill or inflict substantial bodily harm on them. It also includes the abduction and confinement of a minor from their parents or guardians, and the intention of holding that minor to unlawful service or performing unlawful acts upon them.
Second Degree Kidnapping
A second degree kidnapping is more succinctly defined as a person willfully and without legal authority seizing, taking, carrying away or abducting another person with the intention of secretly imprisoning them within the state, conveying them out of the state without legal authority, or holding them in service and detaining them against their will.
Many people seem to believe that kidnapping is a simpler act than it is, in a legal sense, but there is often much more to this crime. By these definitions, it should be clear that kidnapping charges can be paired with many additional related charges, including charges related to sex trafficking or for confinement or harmful events that occur in the course of certain acts of robbery or home invasion.
Penalties for Kidnapping Convictions
While both first and second degree charges of kidnapping result in felony convictions in Nevada, they are different levels with differing penalties.
First Degree Kidnapping
This is a category A felony, with sentencing that corresponds to any harm sustained by the victim of the kidnapping during their taking, over the course of their detainment or during an attempt at escape.
If the victim did come to substantial bodily harm, the penalties can include:
● A life sentence in Nevada State Prison with no possibility of parole
● A life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 15 years served
● 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole eligibility after a minimum of 15 years served
If the victim did not sustain substantial bodily harm, the penalties can include:
● A life sentence in Nevada State Prison with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 5 years served
● 15 years in prison, with the possibility of parole eligibility after a minimum of 5 years served
Second Degree Kidnapping
This is a category B felony, with penalties including:
● From 2 to 15 years in Nevada State Prison
● Fines up to $15,000
Other Charges Related to Kidnapping in Nevada
There are many charges that relate to the crime of kidnapping recognized by the state of Nevada that can be added to first or second degree charges which can increase the sentence if a conviction is made, or can be brought against other individuals who assisted or were aware of the kidnapping taking place.
Charges for Aiding and Abetting a Kidnapping
The state of Nevada takes the act of aiding and abetting a kidnapping very seriously and punishes those who willingly do so accordingly. If you are convicted of aiding and abetting a kidnapping, the penalties are as follows:
● For aiding and abetting a first degree kidnapping, you will receive penalties equal to having committed the actual crime.
● For aiding and abetting a second degree kidnapping, the penalty will be from 2 to 15 years in prison, without the added fine.
Charges for Child Custody Kidnapping
A child custody kidnapping is the kidnapping of a child by their own parent or by someone who has legal, custodial rights of that child. This can include relatives of the child, in addition to their biological parents, and it’s also worth noting that this is considered a crime even if the child in question willingly went with their guardian or parent.
A child custody kidnapping conviction is a category D felony in Nevada and comes with the following penalties:
● From 1 to 4 years in prison
● Fines up to $5,000
Charges for Kidnapping With Use of a Deadly Weapon
If someone committing a kidnapping uses a deadly weapon to do so, in Clark County they may receive an additional 1 to 20 years in prison, as well as losing any option of probation.
Defending a Charge of Kidnapping
As defined by Nevada law, a kidnapping is not an act that can be done without purpose and intention. This burden of proof – that the act of kidnapping was undertaken with an intention to abduct, confine and conceal someone against their will – lies on the prosecutor. There are also no grounds for kidnapping if the abductee was over the age of 18 and consented to the confinement.
What is False Imprisonment?
In cases in which the victim was confined, but was never moved or harmed, there can sometimes be a reduction of a kidnapping charge to one of false imprisonment, which is only a gross misdemeanor in Nevada.
The penalties for a false imprisonment conviction are considerably less severe.
● Up to 364 days in jail
● Fines up to $2,000
If you or someone you care about has been charged with kidnapping in Nevada, we encourage you to contact our office today. The conviction of a kidnapping is very serious and you will need someone who understands the consequences. We offer free case evaluations and our team of experienced, knowledgeable attorneys are ready to hear what you have to say.