Is kidnapping a felony or misdemeanor in Virginia

Va. Code § 18.2-47 covers all laws related to kidnapping, which is a serious offense in Virginia, often preceded or succeeded by another serious offense. For example, a person might kidnap another individual with the intention to rape, murder or traffic them (in the case of succeeding), or they might kidnap/detain someone during a robbery to take them hostage (in the case of preceding.

What is kidnapping in the eyes of the law?

Kidnapping can be described or proven using the following conditions, as per the law of Virginia:

  • The offender used force, deception or intimidation to kidnap someone
  • The accused detained or took someone against their wishes
  • The offender had criminal intent
  • The accused did not have legal or judicial authority to detain the victim
  • The offender concealed or withheld the victim from his/her family, guardians, the authorities, etc.

What are the penalties of an abduction charge?

Abduction or kidnapping is a charge that isn’t taken lightly by the law of Virginia, especially if the victim was a minor (under the legal age of 18). In such a case, the offender is restricted from being (in the future) within 100 feet of a school, playground, athletic field or any such places where children can be found, according to Va. Code §18.2-370.2.

Furthermore, the normal punishment for abduction or kidnapping (which is a Class 5 felony) is a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

If a parent is found guilty of kidnapping their child in violation of a court order then this act will be considered as a Class 6 felony and will be punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

In the case of an aggravated abduction or kidnapping, the offender will be charged by a Class 2 felony. An aggravated abduction is when the offender intends to extort money or other forms of monetary gains, with intent to force a minor into prostitution or to defile him/her. The penalty for this is a prison sentence of up to 20 years behind bars, and if the abduction is of a minor then Va. Code §18.2-370.2 is also applicable.

Other abduction related crimes and how are they punishable by the law?

Other than parental abduction and aggregated abduction, there are many other kinds of abduction related offenses that are recognizable and punishable by the law and judicial system of Virginia. Here are some examples:

  • Assisting in kidnapping or abduction:
  1. Aiding in abduction with intent to defile – Covered under Va. Code §18.2-49(2), this crime is punishable with a prison sentence that can range from 12 months to 10 years.
  2. Aiding in the abduction of a female for prostitution – Covered under Va. Code §18.2-49(3), this felony is punishable with a fine of $2,500 and a prison sentence of maximum 10 years.
  • Threatening to abduct:
  1. Threatening for monetary benefit or to extort money – Considered a Class 5 felony, this is covered under Va. Code §18.2-49(1) which holds a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $2,500.
  2. Threatening with Intent to Defile – This Class 5 felony is covered under Va. Code §18.2-49(2), and is punishable by maximum 10 years in prison.
  3. Threatening abduction of a female (under 16 years of age) for prostitution – Punishable with up to 10 years in prison, this Class 5 felony is covered under Va. Code §18.2-49(3).