Kidnapping and Domestic Violence
When the parents of a child cannot agree on custody arrangements, or one parent fails to abide by a court-imposed custody order, the situation can escalate from a mere disagreement to domestic violence kidnapping charges. A conviction of domestic violence kidnapping may not only affect your liberties but also significantly impair your parental rights. If you are charged with domestic violence kidnapping, it is critical to meet with a criminal attorney regarding the circumstances surrounding your arrest. The Tacoma domestic violence attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC will work tirelessly to develop compelling arguments in your defense and help you strive to protect your liberties. We assist people charged with domestic violence kidnapping in cities throughout Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.Kidnapping in the Context of Domestic Violence Under Washington Law
Under Washington law RCW 10.99.020, certain crimes are considered domestic violence if they are committed against a member of a person’s household or family. Household and family members include anyone related by blood or marriage, spouses and former spouses, and people who parent a child together, regardless of whether they were ever married. Kidnapping in the first and second degrees are two of the many crimes listed in RCW 10.99.020 as crimes of domestic violence.
Kidnapping in the first degree is defined by RCW 9A.40.020, and kidnapping in the second degree is defined by RCW 9A.40.030. While numerous acts can result in a charge of kidnapping in the first degree, in the context of domestic violence, charges will typically be brought if a person abducts another person with the intent to inflict bodily injury or inflict extreme mental distress on either the person abducted or a third person. A person commits a kidnapping in the second degree if he or she intentionally abducts a person under circumstances that do not constitute kidnapping in the first degree. The majority of domestic violence kidnapping charges arise when one parent absconds with a child, either to attempt to retain custody or in defiance of a court order. If you are charged with a domestic violence kidnapping crime, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.Penalties for a Domestic Violence Kidnapping Conviction
The penalties for a kidnapping conviction depend on the nature of the charge. Kidnapping in the first degree is a class A felony, for which the court can impose a punishment of up to life imprisonment and a fine of $50,000. In most cases, kidnapping in the second degree is a class B felony, except if the kidnapping was conducted with a sexual motivation, in which case it is a class A felony. A conviction of a class B felony can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.Defending Against Domestic Violence Kidnapping Charges
RCW 9A.40.030 provides a statutory defense for kidnapping in the second degree. Specifically, it states that in any case in which a person is charged with kidnapping in the second degree, it is a defense that the abduction was by a relative of the person abducted for the sole purpose of assuming custody, and it did not involve the use of deadly force or an intent to use deadly force. Thus, if you are accused of kidnapping in the second degree for the abduction of your child or another relative, you may be able to avoid a conviction if the abduction was to assume custody.Speak With an Experienced Tacoma Attorney Regarding Your Criminal Charges
If you are charged with domestic violence kidnapping, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced domestic violence defense lawyer regarding your charges and potential defenses. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC will work tirelessly to provide you with a thorough and effective defense in hopes of helping you protect your liberties. We have an office in Tacoma, and we are available by appointment at a second office in Vashon. We can be contacted at 253-203-1645 or through our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting regarding your charges.