Domestic violence is scary, confusing, and dangerous for everyone involved, but it is especially terrifying for children. This is increasingly true when an impassioned parent decides to take the children and leave without the consent of the other parent. In fact, if you take your own child away from the child's other parent that may still amount to the crime of kidnapping.
Family Abductions throughout the United States
Family abductions are the most common form of kidnapping in the United States. Between the years of 2007 and 2017, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported that there were 11,581 children abducted by a parent or family member. The mother was the abductor of the children 53.9% of the time. Nearly two-thirds of family abductions occurred when the children were younger—between the ages of 0 to 6. Fortunately, 99.7% of children involved in family abductions were recovered alive.
Domestic Violence Kidnapping in Washington State
The Washington State Code states that there are two categories of kidnapping that may be considered domestic violence kidnapping: kidnapping in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degree.
Kidnapping in the First Degree
A person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree if that person abducts another person with the intent:
- “To hold that person for ransom or as a hostage;
- To commit a felony crime To inflict injury or harm on the victim;
- To inflict mental distress on the victim or on another person;
- To interfere with a government function.”
Under this law, you may be charged with kidnapping if you take the children from their other parent because you are trying to force your loved one to stay with you. Kidnapping in the first degree is a class A felony.
Kidnapping in the Second Degree
Alternatively, “a person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree if he or she intentionally abducts another person under circumstances not amounting to kidnapping in the first degree.” This law sounds very vague. However, a crime may or may not be charged if there is evidence showing the following:
- “The abduction does not include the use of or intent to use or threat to use deadly force; and
- The actor is a relative of the person abducted; and
- The actor's sole intent is to assume custody of that person.”
It is important to note that even if you have preponderantly established the evidence above, that does not mean that you are not precluded from prosecution or conviction of any other crime. Kidnapping in the second degree is a class B felony.
Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi
If you or a loved one has been arrested for any domestic violence charges you need the assistance of a dedicated and experienced defense attorney. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor who now uses his knowledge and insight to fight for the rights of the accused. Mr. Karimi has been named a top criminal defense lawyer in the Seattle area. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi are here to assist you with domestic violence legal defense needs. Contact us today.