A California man was arrested for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend from a casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. According to the report, police responded to a call of domestic violence at a local hotel on Saturday night where the man allegedly strangled and beat his girlfriend following an argument about money. On Monday, the same man allegedly kidnapped the woman from Harvey's Casino. Details about how the kidnapping occurred are not provided. The man is being held on $50,000 bail and faces kidnapping and domestic battery charges.
Seattle-based domestic violence defense attorney Steve Karimi explains Washington kidnapping laws and how domestic violence charges can accompany kidnapping charges in certain situations.
First-Degree Kidnapping Charges
If this incident occurred in Washington, the man would likely face a first-degree kidnapping charge. In Washington, the crime of kidnapping is charged in the first or second degree. Second-degree kidnapping involves less extreme scenarios where violence is not a factor, such as incidents of child custody or visitation. While the details surrounding the Nevada kidnapping are unclear, the man's history of violence towards the victim brings a reasonable likelihood of a first-degree charge.
To get a first-degree kidnapping conviction, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant intentionally abducted another person with the intent to commit a felony, hold them for ransom, or to cause the victim physical injury, mental or physical harm, or emotional distress.
Under state law, first-degree kidnapping is punished more harshly than kidnapping in the second degree and the sentences can have a far-reaching impact on those convicted. The court will impose lifetime imprisonment, a fine of up to $50,000, or a combination thereof. A kidnapping conviction will remain on an individual's criminal record for life, appearing on background checks for employment and housing applications.
Kidnapping and Domestic Violence
While first-degree kidnapping is a serious charge on its own, kidnapping in Washington is also charged as a domestic violence crime even if the victim does not want to press criminal charges. The man accused in the Nevada kidnapping would also face domestic violence charges if he had kidnapped his girlfriend in Washington. Crimes committed against girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, partners, and parents can bring accompanying domestic violence charges.
According to RCW 10.99.010, domestic violence charges are brought in accordance with other criminal charges to help assure that victims of domestic violence receive protection from continued abuse. In cases involving domestic violence, the court has the power to issue no-contact orders to prevent an accused from contacting and communicating with the victim while the charges are pending.
Contact Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
There are legal defenses available to defend against kidnapping and domestic violence charges. If you find yourself unfairly accused of these crimes in Washington, it's important to get experienced legal help as soon as possible. For years, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi has represented defendants charged with kidnapping and domestic violence. Contact attorney Steve Karimi in Seattle by calling (206) 621-8777 or fill out an online case evaluation form.