Kidnapping Simple kidnapping under section 207 of the Penal Code is the taking away, and detention of another person by force or fear. 1

To commit the crime it is enough to restrain or prevent a person from leaving after they willingly go with the perpetrator, and there is no necessity it be a forceful abduction.2

There must be, consent, and a reasonable belief in consent.3 It is not required that the person be held secretly.4

A kidnapping continues as long as the detention continues.5

The act of kidnapping is a continuous event and cannot be divided into separate acts or crimes.6

In order for a kidnapping to occur, there must be “Asportation.” Asportation is a term that describes the “movement” of the person kidnapped.

While substantial movement is required, it is not limited to the distance, and can also involve the nature and purpose behind the movement.7 Besides Asportation, it must be shown that force or fear were used to withhold and detain the victim. 8

Section 207 also applies to someone who,

  • “Hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces” using false promises, misrepresentations, or similar means, a child under age 14 to leave a county or a
  • part of a county, the state, or the country where they are located. 207(b);
  • Through force or fear “takes or holds, detains, or arrests” a person, planning to remove the person from the state without having proven a claim under
  • federal or state law. 207(c);
  • From a place outside of the state “abducts or takes by force or fraud” a person, in violation of the law of the place where the act is committed, and
  • “brings, sends or conveys” that person into the state, and is afterwards found within the state. 207(d);
  • Who “hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like,” a person to leave the state and to sell that
  • person into slavery or involuntary servitude;
  • Employ the person for the kidnaper's use, or that of another, without the person's consent.

If convicted the sentence for a simple kidnapping is prison for 3, 5, or eight years.9 Where the person kidnapped is under 14 the sentence is prison for 5, 8, eleven years.10

In the event, the kidnapping under either 207 or 209 was intended permanently to deprive the parent or legal guardian of custody of a victim under age 14, there is an additional five years in prison.

If a murder is committed during a kidnapping under the felony murder, it becomes first-degree murder. Kidnapping is also considered a special circumstance, and a murder conviction will cause either the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.11

If probation is granted the court must require a 12-month county jail term as a condition of probation. 12

Aggravated Kidnapping.

Aggravated Kidnapping Aggravated kidnapping is when done to commit certain specified crimes defined by sections 209 and 209.5 of the Penal Code which include robbery, extortion, sex crimes, and carjacking.13

1 Section 207(a) of the California Penal Code; People v. McCullough (1979) 100 C.A.3d 169, 176, 160 C.R. 831

2 People v. Trawick (1947) 78 C.A.2d 604, 606, 178 P.2d 45; People v. Hight (1949) 94 C.A.2d 100, 104, 210 P.2d 270; People v. Camden (1976) 16 C.3d 808, 812, 129 C.R. 438, 548 P.2d 1110

3 People v. Eid (2010) 187 C.A.4th 859, 863, 877, 114 C.R.3d 520.

4 People v. Brazil (1942) 53 C.A.2d 596, 597, 128 P.2d 204; People v. Rich (1960) 177 C.A.2d 617, 621, 2 C.R. 600.

5 Parnell v. Superior Court (1981) 119 C.A.3d 392, 408, 173 C.R. 906; People v. Thomas (1994) 26 C.A.4th 1328, 1335, 32 C.R.2d 177.

6 People v. Thomas, 26 C.A.4th 1335; People v. Jackson (1998) 66 C.A.4th 182, 189, 77 C.R.2d 564.)

7 People v. Alcala (1984) 36 C.3d 604, 622, 205 C.R. 775, 685 P.2d 1126; People v. Phillips (1959) 173 C.A.2d 349, 351, 343P.2d 270

8 Section 207 of the California Penal Code; People v. Majors (2004) 33 C.4th 321, 331, 14 C.R.2d 870, 92 P.3d 360

9 Section 208(a) of the California Penal Code.

10 Section 208(b) of the California Penal Code

11 Section 190.2(a)(17)(B (3) of the California Penal Code

12 Section 208(c) of the California Penal Code

13 People v. Ordonez (1991) 226 C.A.3d 1207, 1225, 277 C.R. 382.