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What Does "Kidnapping" Actually Mean in Illinois?

 Posted on January 18, 2022 in Criminal Law

Orland Park Kidnapping Defense LawyerWhen you hear the term “kidnapping,” you may picture the stereotypical scenario of someone driving up in a windowless van and snatching a child from the side of the road. However, the actual legal definition of kidnapping is much broader. The victim need not be a child, and you need not move them from the location where you found them. Kidnapping can also be carried out through nonviolent means. Many people who find themselves being charged with this felony are taken by surprise at the charge due to a series of common misconceptions about what kidnapping actually means.

If you are facing this charge, you are in great legal jeopardy. Kidnapping, without aggravating circumstances, is a second-degree felony in Illinois, punishable by three to seven years in prison.

What is the Legal Meaning of Kidnapping?

Legally, kidnapping refers primarily to confining a person against their will. It is the confinement itself that results in the kidnapping charge. It is a misconception that kidnapping necessarily involves transporting the victim from one place to another by force. The offense of kidnapping can involve:

  • Confinement alone - Secretly keeping someone trapped against their will can be considered kidnapping. This could include actions like making threats, blocking an exit, or using physical restraint to stop someone from leaving.

  • Forcible movement - The most clear-cut and recognizable form of this crime, moving someone against their will to a new location by force or threat of force is likely to result in a kidnapping conviction. You need not move them far–even moving the victim from one area of a building to another can count.

  • Deceit - Deceiving, coercing, or otherwise tricking or inducing another person to come with you to a location where you can confine them will count. This could be as simple as inviting someone back to your home under the pretense of a dinner date and then locking the door. Even though the victim came of their own volition, they were deceived into doing so.

In more serious situations, aggravated kidnapping may be charged. Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X felony, which depending on the circumstances, could carry up to a life sentence. Some of the facts that could lead to an aggravated charge include:

  • Victim - The victim was under 13 years old or had serious intellectual disabilities.

  • Harm - The victim suffers great bodily harm.

  • Weapons - A firearm or other deadly weapon is used.

  • Ransom - Holding a victim for ransom is considered extremely serious.

  • Mask - The kidnapper conceals his face or identity in any way.

If aggravated kidnapping is the charge you are facing, you could be looking at a long prison term if convicted.

Call a Will County Kidnapping Defense Lawyer

Issa Law, LLC will take your legal defense as seriously as you do. Our experienced Orland Park kidnapping defense attorneys understand what is at stake and will fight to protect your rights and your freedom. Call our law office at 708-966-2408 so we can get you scheduled quickly for a free consultation.


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