Kidnapping is a serious matter that can be prosecuted as a felony in federal court. If you’re charged with a federal crime, you could face years in federal prison and other harsh penalties. Even when you’re charged at the federal level, you might still be charged for your state crime violations, too.

With the seriousness of these charges, you need a criminal defense lawyer who will stand up for your rights and can build the strongest defense possible. Being accused or investigated for kidnapping can be a devastating experience for you and your loved ones, and ruin your reputation. Oftentimes, a non-custodial parent is charged with kidnapping for violating the terms of his or her custody or visitation agreement.

The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Joffe Law, P.A. are experienced in kidnapping cases on the state and federal level. We understand our clients’ rights and will aggressively fight for you to ensure you have a fair trial. If you’re facing kidnapping charges, call Joffe Law, P.A today at 954-723-0007 for a free consultation.

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Federal Kidnapping Charges

In general, kidnapping is defined as taking another person without his or her consent and holding them forcibly against his or her will. Kidnapping charges can overlap with other criminal charges, such as robbery, sexual assault, rape, battery, and murder.

Under federal law, kidnapping is a violent crime. Statute 18 U.S. Code § 1201 defines kidnapping as the unlawful seizure, confinement, abduction of a person for a ransom or reward, not including parents who abduct minor children. For it to constitute as a federal crime, any of the following would have to occur:

  • Victim crosses state lines or national borders
  • The offender uses mail or any type of interstate or foreign commerce
  • The offender commits the act against a person within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
  • The victim is a foreign official, internationally protected person, or official guest
  • The victim is an officer or employee of the U.S. government acting in his or her official duties

If the victim is not returned within 24 hours, it’s presumed that the victim has been taken outside of the state or the country. While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) usually investigates federal kidnapping cases, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other federal agencies may also be involved.

In federal kidnapping cases, aspects that affect your potential conviction include:

  • If the victim was physically restrained
  • How far the victim was moved
  • Associated crimes, such as assault or sexual abuse
  • Verbal threats or evidence of premeditation


Depending on the circumstances, the penalties for kidnapping can range from three years up to life in prison. If the kidnapping resulted in the death of the victim or another individual, the defendant could face the death penalty. Conspiracy to commit kidnapping is also punishable by up to life in prison.

Experienced Defense Against Federal Kidnapping Charges

If you have been accused of kidnapping, contact Joffe Law, P.A. today to speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. You need experienced defense on your side. We will fight to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. Call today at 954-723-0007 for a free case evaluation.