Contact Us for a Free Consultation (213) 542-0979


Kidnapping Laws in California - Penal Code 207 PC

In California, kidnapping is a serious felony offense requiring a strong, aggressive, confident defense lawyer.

A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at our law firm has experience in handling kidnapping cases, and we have seen great results. We are knowledgeable in all laws, court procedures, and defenses to assert on our client's behalf.

Simple Kidnapping vs. Aggravated Kidnapping

California Penal Code section 207, referred to as simple kidnapping, occurs when you move another person without his or her consent.

If you used force, threat, or fraud, the victim was under 14 years old, you hold the victim for ransom, the victim suffers bodily harm or death, or the kidnap occurs during a carjacking, then you will be charged with aggravated kidnapping which has harsher penalties than a simple kidnapping.

To be convicted, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took, detained, or held another person by using force/fear/fraud; that the defendant moved the person or made the person move a distance that is more than slight (whether the distance moved is sufficient is a matter to be considered by the jury); the person did not give consent to the movement; the defendant did not have a reasonable or actual belief that the person consented to the movement.

Will You Get Life in Prison If Charged with Kidnapping?

I've handled hundreds of California Penal Code 207 PC kidnapping charges over the years, and I'll tell you, most of these charges are over-filed. Meaning that prosecutors should never be filing for kidnapping, but they're so angry with what they see in the police report that they decide to put the screws on a particular defendant.

You will only get life in prison if you're charged with Penal Code Section 209 – that's the kidnapping that carries life.  Penal Code Section 207 does not carry life.

So, first, you have to be charged with the right Penal Code Section to get a chance at life.  I don't see many people getting life in a kidnapping case, but it depends on the circumstances.

Kidnapping Laws in California - Penal Code 207 PC

The kidnappings they're trying to give people life relate to kidnapping children – where they're trying to take the child and keep the child, versus someone who's the child's parent and is just disobeying a court order.  You shouldn't do that, but that's not the type of kidnapping; in my opinion, that should garner a life sentence. 

Also, if you have a horrible criminal record and prior strikes and pick up a kidnapping, you'd be facing a life sentence because prosecutors and judges don't mess around with those types of cases.

You also, in my opinion, have to be trying to kidnap somebody.  Sometimes you got people moving another person to commit another crime.  They're not kidnapping.  They never intend to keep the person. 

They're just moving them to commit another crime, and many times, whatever they're doing in the kidnapping is part and parcel of the crime they're being charged with. 

For example, robbery.  They move some people inside a store, and now they're suddenly charged with robbery and kidnapping.  That's a robbery case, in my opinion.  That's not a kidnapping case. So, if you or a loved one is charged with kidnapping, you can see it can get a little bit complicated, but you also have some play here if you've got the right criminal defense attorney.

So, it's not always the same if you want the best strategy.  It depends on the facts and circumstances of your case – you want somebody who can not only negotiate these cases but win them if they're over-filed – then you've come to the right place.

If you or a loved one is charged with kidnapping, you need a champion on your side –someone who can fight the prosecutor tooth and nail. One who can negotiate with the prosecutors – who has connections with the upper echelon prosecutors – knows how to deal with the judges in these cases and how to fight these kidnapping cases.

Because, again, a lot of them are over-filed.  They're not fair, but you can shout from the rafters that it's not fair. So you better bring in somebody who can fight and get it dismissed if it's not fair. 

You better bring in someone who can negotiate it – get the prosecutors to dismiss and offer something else if you've committed a crime, but it shouldn't be a kidnapping charge. 

How to Get the Best Result in a Kidnapping Case?

For those charged with California Penal Code 207 PC kidnapping, many times they might be free on bail or might have a loved one looking for an attorney to help them, and getting the best result is undoubtedly at the top of their mind.

I've been doing this now for 30 years.  I've handled many kidnapping cases.  Sometimes my clients are facing life.  Sometimes they're not facing life but are facing much time in prison.

So, when you're looking at these cases, you're really looking at them hard and first seeing whether or not you might have a defense to the case.  Sometimes there are circumstances where somebody's got a good defense to a kidnapping case, which we want to look into.

That's probably one of the first things that I would do as your defense attorney is trying to determine if we have some defense to your case that we can utilize to determine the best move for you and your situation.

Review of the Evidence

What we'll have you do is come into my office. We'll sit down, go over everything and talk about the ins and outs of your case, and we'll figure out number one:

  • If it's a case that's defensible;
  • Do we need to do the preliminary hearing?
  • Can we take the case to trial and win it?

If we decide that it is defensible, we will obviously make some moves toward defending the case. Then, we will set up an investigative game plan that makes sense for you and your circumstances. 


If, on the other hand, we determine that your case needs to be mitigated and resolved, then we're really going to look at the case and decide whether or not the prosecutors actually have a kidnapping. 

Maybe there's a crime there. Perhaps it's a serious crime, but maybe it's not a kidnapping.  Because for kidnapping, you have to be taking somebody, moving them a distance, and in my opinion, based on the case law, you've got to be trying to kidnap them and take them somewhere. 

Sometimes something else is going on in these cases. Unfortunately, the prosecutors twist the case into kidnapping to have much leverage against you to get some other charge. 

The prosecutors can say they look; your client is facing life, Penal Code Section 209, with this type of kidnapping.  If you don't take this deal, go to trial, and lose, the judge will have to give your client a life sentence.  That's the type of power these guys sometimes have.

Seeking the Best Possible Outcome

Let's sit down, and we'll go over everything. First, tell me the truth about what happened.  Then I will get the other side of it – talk to the prosecutor. Look at the prosecutor and ask, what kind of evidence do you have against my client? I don't think this is a kidnapping case.

Then I'm going to shut my mouth, and let's see what they say, and now we'll have the framework of their case that we can talk about and decide whether this is a kidnapping case.

So, if you want the best, if everything is on the line, and I believe it is if you or a loved one is charged with kidnapping, you've come to the right place. So, pick up the phone now.  Make the call. 

Let's discuss everything and figure out a game plan for you and your situation.    Let my experience work for you.  I've traveled the road you're about to travel and had success. Pick up the phone now.  Call the Hedding Law Firm.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

Related Content: