A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed federal kidnapping charges and their potential penalties. Unfortunately, the law in this area, like much of the federal penal code, is complicated. Therefore, some Californians may find themselves facing kidnapping allegations without even knowing that they have done anything wrong. For example, a non-custodial parent may take a child across state lines, not knowing that he or she needs permission to do so. In this instance, the non-custodial parent may be facing significant penalties, including prison and the loss of access to his or her child.
Kidnapping is a criminal offense that can fall under either state or federal law, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Typically, kidnapping is considered a federal offense if a person is taken against his or her will and transported across state lines. However, other present factors can render a kidnapping a federal offense. For example, if the alleged abductor uses an instrument of interstate commerce in furtherance the offense, then it may fall under federal jurisdiction.