Kidnapping in Delaware

Kidnapping is defined as the act of taking someone away illegally by force, typically to obtain a ransom. There are 2 types of kidnapping charges in Delaware, each are felonies and carry with them extremely severe legal consequences if convicted. If you are facing Delaware kidnapping charges you should speak with a Delaware Attorney today.

When most people think of kidnapping, they may think of the capture by force of a minor under the age of 18 by a person or persons outside the child’s family for criminal purposes. However, in Delaware and elsewhere, laws also recognize another type of kidnapping which parents can be tried and convicted of even if their intent was never to “kidnap” any child.

Parental Kidnapping

What constitutes parental kidnapping (also known as “custodial interference”) in Delaware may differ depending upon the specifics of custody. Kidnapping charges are much more likely when two adults share joint custody of a child or children. Tensions can arise between the two that provoke the subjective assessment of kidnapping and lead authorities to become involved.

While some cases are very blatant, it is often unclear whether kidnapping is taking place in some instances in Delaware. Even cases initially considered to be kidnapping can later be assessed as an example of a part or guardian acting on behalf of the welfare of the child based upon a clear danger to the child posed by the other parent.

In Delaware, it is important to understand the various situations in which the other parent or guardian may pose a threat to the child and the appropriate legal steps that one can take in order to prevent that person from having the legal leverage of a kidnapping charge.

It is possible to have a contempt of court petition filed against you if you remove a child from the state in violation of the custody of another guardian. Attempts to deny custody or visitation rights that have been established by a court can, in certain circumstances, be construed as kidnapping under Delaware law.

Temporary Custody can be Granted as Part of Protective Orders

To reduce your odds of kidnapping charges, you may be able to gain full custody of a child by getting a protective order against the other guardian. It is particularly vital that you take care in each step of the process if divorce proceedings are ongoing. See 10 Delaware Code, Section 1045 for more information.

If accused of kidnapping, it is imperative that anyone in Delaware seek an experienced Delaware defense attorney who has specific expertise in such matters. A well-defended case can help one to prevent or overturn a conviction and potentially even gain a pardon or expungement.

Delaware Kidnapping Laws

§ 783. Kidnapping in the second degree; class C felony.

A person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree when the person unlawfully restrains another person with any of the following purposes:

(1) To hold the victim for ransom or reward; or

(2) To use the victim as a shield or hostage; or

(3) To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or

(4) To inflict physical injury upon the victim, or to violate or abuse the victim sexually; or

(5) To terrorize the victim or a third person; or

(6) To take or entice any child less than 18 years of age from the custody of the child’s parent, guardian or lawful custodian;

and the actor voluntarily releases the victim alive, unharmed and in a safe place prior to trial.

Kidnapping in the second degree is a class C felony.

§ 783A. Kidnapping in the first degree; class B felony.

A person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree when the person unlawfully restrains another person with any of the following purposes:

(1) To hold the victim for ransom or reward; or

(2) To use the victim as a shield or hostage; or

(3) To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or

(4) To inflict physical injury upon the victim, or to violate or abuse the victim sexually; or

(5) To terrorize the victim or a third person; or

(6) To take or entice any child less than 18 years of age from the custody of the child’s parent, guardian or lawful custodian;

and the actor does not voluntarily release the victim alive, unharmed and in a safe place prior to trial.

Kidnapping in the first degree is a class B felony.

How a Delaware Kidnapping Defense Lawyer can Help You

You are looking at felony charges and prison time if convicted of kidnapping. As your attorney I will do everything in my power to devise a solid and strategic defense. My ultimate goal is to get your charges dropped or dismissed. If that is not possible I will attempt to get the charges lessened and minimize the repercussions of your pending kidnapping charges. I am a former prosecutor and have a long standing history of successfully defending those accused of felony crimes throughout all of Delaware.

Contact Delaware Lawyer John R. Garey

I have many years experience handling all types of criminal offenses in New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County, Delaware. If you have been charged with kidnapping anywhere in Delaware please call me at (302) 744-9290. My office in Dover, Delaware also welcomes your direct emails.