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What is the Law on Kidnapping/Abduction in Washington and What are the Punishments for it?

The act of capturing an individual and holding them in confinement is termed as kidnapping. Criminal law defines it as an instance which involves grabbing, detaining, deceiving, capturing a person forcefully often demanding for a sum of money. Washington laws consider the act of kidnapping as an unlawful deed. It has set strict regulations against perpetrators committing this crime.

Washington law categorizes kidnapping into the first degree and second-degree offensive acts. First-degree criminal charges are applicable under Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.020. The kidnapping will be considered a serious offense in case the individual is found guilty for:

  • the victim is held captive for a reward or hostage; or
  • cause the victim with physical assault; or
  • harm the victim through emotional harassment; or
  • disturbs the functioning of constitutional affairs.

Criminal charges are eased in case the individual is found guilty of under-second degree act of abduction. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.030 is applicable in case the person has committed such instance for custody of that person. The rudiments of this degree of kidnapping are a) deliberately hold somebody against the victim’s will (2) to gain a reward or ransom.

Washington Abduction Law
According to Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.020 kidnappings are termed as first-degree offense and is labeled under class A category and as per Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.030 kidnapping in the second-degree offense and is labeled under class B category. Additionally, Kidnapping under second-degree offense with sexual assault is leveled to class A criminal act. The maximum punishment for a class A felony includes detention for twenty years or more and for class B felony includes more than eight years of imprisonment.

Kidnapping Children in Washington

In most cases, individuals do not realize that forcefully taking away your own also amounts to kidnapping. Such instances are termed as ‘Custodial interference’. In most of the instances, the child is taken away unlawfully from a biological parent by a close relative or the parent himself. Custodial interference is subdivided into:

  • First-degree Offence for Custodial Interference
  • A second-degree offense for Custodial Interference

You will be held guilty for custodial interference in the 1st degree in case you are involved in: the captivity of the child for a particular time period, let the child unattended in risky conditions or took the child out of state or vicinity. Additional aspects will be applicable depending upon guidelines of guardianship and visitation. Custodial Interference in the First Degree is a class C felony. You will be awarded imprisonment of 5 years and a penalty of $10,000.

Punishment for Abduction in Washington

You will be held guilty for custodial interference in the 2nd degree in case you are involved with: detained a child and have deprived of his access to the biological parent that has lawful custody. Custodial Interference in the Second Degree is considered to be a heinous offense. You will be let free in case it is your first offense, but serious charges will be applicable in case of a repeated or subsequent conviction. However, such incidents will lead to custodial interference in the second degree and will be termed to be a class C felony.

Kidnapping and Domestic Violence

According to the Laws of Washington, kidnapping can be also charged as a domestic violence crime.Under RCW 10.99.020, charges of kidnapping and domestic will be applied equally in case an individual is found to be closely associated with the family. For instance close relationship like spouses, ex-spouses, grandparents, child and parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings and more.

Kidnapping and Unlawful Imprisonment

The act RCW 9A.40.040 is applicable for unlawfully imprisoning another person. The individual is found guilty in case he confines another person at a particular place and restricts him from moving out to another location. Unlawful Imprisonment amounts Class C felony which leads to punishment up to 5 years imprisonment and a $10,000 penalty.

Kidnapping is considered to be a serious offense in Washington. The charges under such offenses are likely to ruin your career, reputation, and future prospects. In case you are convicted of kidnapping or custodial interference in Washington, do consider an expert Criminal Defense Attorney for defending your case. Since the prosecutors are likely to overcharge you in case kidnapping involves minors.


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