Abduction is Kidnapping
Abduction is Virginia's word for Kidnapping and is a very serious offense. If you have been charged with Kidnapping or Abduction you will need a competent Attorney to represent you. Because it involves depriving another person of their liberty the courts are not very lenient in these types of cases. However, there are many defenses to these types of charges and we recommend you give us a call or use the contact form below so we can discuss your options. We offer a free consultation and will answer your questions free of charge.
The Virginia Code defines Abduction under §18.2-47 as the use of force, intimidation, or deception to either transport (move), detain, or hide another person so to deprive them of their personal liberty or to otherwise withhold or conceal them. This means that you do not have to physically move a person but can, essentially, imprison them and be in violation of this statute. For example, if you lock somebody in a room that act is abduction (or kidnapping). In addition, grabbing somebody and holding them can be abduction. However, telling somebody you won't take them somewhere even if accompanied by a threat is not abduction because that person still maintains their freedom to go where they please (you just won't take them there).
Abduction is a Class 5 Felony which requires a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and fine of up to $2500. In cases where there is a custody order in place and a parent takes their child somewhere in violation of that court order is a Class 1 Misdemeanor (this is rarely charged since the parent is already subject to a contempt of court charge and possible loss of custody or visitation). However, taking that child outside of Virginia in violation of a court order is a Class 6 Felony.
Common Examples of Abduction
In Fairfax County, we see a lot of Abduction charges in Domestic Assault cases. An argument occurs, gets heated, and one spouse assaults the other and prohibits them from leaving the residence by locking the door or otherwise restraining them. Many of these charges are dropped or reduced by agreement with the Prosecutor in exchange for a deal on the underlying misdemeanor assault charge (especially if the couple is still together and trying to work out their differences). Other abduction cases can be dropped or dismissed for a lack of sufficient evidence.
The other typical Abduction scenario we see is when two people are in a vehicle and the passenger wants to get out. The driver does not want to stop because they either want to resolve the argument or they are on the highway and the driver does not feel it is safe to simply stop the vehicle on the highway so the passenger can get out. Many of these charges are reduced or dismissed because, quite frankly, the intent to deprive the other person of their freedom is not present. Rather, the driver would have been happy to comply once a safe place to stop became available.
Another common example of Abduction accompanies a Robbery charge. It may be a hostage situation or simply done to facilitate the Robbery. It should be noted in these cases that case law has held it is not Abduction when the act was necessary to commit the underlying offense (i.e. you have to hold them to commit the Robbery).
Abduction With Intent to Defile: §18.2-48
Abduction Within Intent to Defile under Virginia Code §18.2-48 is a charge where there is an Abduction but with intent to extort money or other pecuniary benefit, with the intent to defile the person, or for the purpose of prostitution or for the manufacturing of child pornography. A conviction for this offense needs to be avoided because it is a Class 2 Felony so life in prison is at stake.
Most of these types of charge accompany Rape charges. A person is either transported in a vehicle or locked in a hotel room so a Rape can occur. However, as noted above, many of these charges can be dismissed because the act must be committed in order to commit the underlying offense (i.e. the Rape) and we have been successful in getting the courts to agree in certain cases.
Presumption Against Bail Abduction Cases
There is a presumption against bail in these types of cases so our first goal is to get you out of jail because a Judge may not release you without proper argument. We will then look at the facts of the case to determine what defenses exist. Every type of charge has defenses and we want to ensure each one is explored so we know which ones apply to your case. In every Abduction case there must be an "Intent" to deprive another person of their liberty. As a result, every Abduction or Kidnapping case has a possible defense. We offer a free consultation and want to help you.