The Law on Kidnapping/Abduction in
Maryland and its Punishments
Kidnapping is an illegal act of carrying away or taking away someone without consent or if the consent has been given by fraud or coercion. In the act of kidnapping, an adult or a child is taken away forcibly from one place to another. The purpose of taking away a person would be usually to demand ransom or reward in return for that person’s exchange. A person may also be kidnapped to carry out a criminal act on that person. Kidnapping is treated as a serious offense in most states. Each state has defined its own laws and punishments for the act.
The law related to kidnapping and punishment in Maryland
2018 Maryland Code Criminal law Title 3 Subtitle 5 deals with the offenses of kidnapping. The law in Maryland distinguishes between kidnapping and kidnapping of a child.
As per the law in the state of Maryland, the law explains what is the act of kidnapping that is prohibited by law. It states that a person may not carry another person in our out of the state, whether by force or by fraud, with a purpose of concealing that person whether in the state or out of the state. The act states that any person who violates this law would have committed a felony. A conviction would lead to imprisonment for a period of not more than 30 years in prison. The exception is where a parent carries his/her own minor child out of the state.
Child kidnapping is defined separately under the law. It states that a person is not allowed to abduct or carry away a child below the age of 12 years from the child’s home or from the custody of the parents or guardian. Enticing a child below 12 years of age to go away without obtaining the consent of the parent or guardian, with the intention of taking away from the child from the parents or guardian is considered as child kidnapping.
The law also states that no one is allowed to take away a child below 16 years of age by force. Anyone violating this law is guilty of a felony and on conviction would face imprisonment for a period of not more than 30 years. If during the kidnapping of a child, a sexual offense is carried out then it can lead to imprisonment for life without parole. If the possibility of imposing a life sentence without parole is contemplated by the state, it must be notified, as per law to the accused at least 30 days before the date of the trial.
As we can observe, the law in the state of Maryland differentiates between kidnapping and child kidnapping. This is done to give clarity to the law so that both the acts are clearly defined along with the punishments. A kidnapping act is dealt with differently and an act of kidnapping a child is dealt with in a different way.
Kidnapping is taking away a person by force or by threatening to use force. The kidnapped person may be taken away to a place within the state or outside the state. Whatever it maybe this would lead to a conviction, if the purpose was to conceal the person or hide that person for whatever reason. In some states, the law explicitly refers to the reason behind the kidnapping, which could be to extort ransom or demand a reward. The reason is not mentioned in the Maryland law. The reason is irrespective of the reason for kidnapping, the offense would be punished by imprisonment.