The charges of Kidnapping and False Imprisonment can easily be confused as the same offense. However, the elements the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and the terms of punishment are very different. Kidnapping is governed by O.C.G.A. § 16-5-40. Kidnapping occurs when a person abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority or a warrant and holds such against his or her will. The statute’s use of the terms “abduct or steals away” and what type of behavior that encompasses may be unclear. It can include any slight movement of another. The following types of slight movements are sufficient for a charge of Kidnapping:
- concealing or isolating the victim
- making the commission of another offense substantially easier
- lessening the risk of detection
- done for the purpose of avoiding apprehension
If convicted of Kidnapping, there is a wide range of possible punishments. If the victim is fourteen years old or older, then the offender may be sentenced to prison for at least ten to twenty years. If the victim is less than fourteen years old, the court can render a life sentence or a sentence of at least twenty-five years followed by probation for life. If the kidnapping was for financial gain or there was bodily harm done to the victim, the penalties are life imprisonment or a death sentence.
False Imprisonment is outlined in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-41. It occurs when, in violation of the personal liberty of another, the person arrests, confines, or detains another without legal authority. If facing this charge, you may be sentenced to one to ten years of jail time. Further, if convicted, when the victim is not the offender’s child and is less than fourteen years old, the Sexual Offender Review Board may subject the offender to a risk assessment.
Kidnapping and False Imprisonment are serious charges and can lead to false convictions without the proper assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Without a proper defense, there are many legal behaviors that could be considered incriminating and be related to these offenses. Here at Bixon Law, we prepare and fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients. Give us a call at (404) 551-5684 to see how we can best serve your needs.