Child Abduction and Kidnapping Laws in California

11-month-old Gabriela Quintero had a happy reunion with her mother nearly 5 hours after she was taken from their home in Amador Court.  Quintero’s mother had just placed her daughter into their jeep and run back into the house for some packages when the vehicle was stolen- with young Gabriela in the back seat.  The car, and the baby girl, was eventually found in Amargosa Court – nearly 6 miles from the abduction site.

California laws concerning kidnapping are covered under Penal Code, § 207, 208, 209, & 209.5.  Here, kidnapping is defined as moving another person a substantial distance without their consent and using either force or fear (or a combination of both) to accomplish this.  A client facing a “simple kidnapping” charge in the state of California faces a felony charge and up to 8 years in state prison.

Child abduction and kidnapping are, however, a different story.  CA PC §278 described child abduction as a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that an individual accused of this crime could face a $10,000 maximum fine and a maximum of 4 years in state prison.  This means that a judge could sentence you for both child abduction and for kidnapping, sentences to be carried out consecutively, if he or she desires.  Of course, there are several defenses to these charges. The first of these is a lack of evidence for the crime.  Additionally, it must be proven that the alleged victim did not consent to being moved. Lastly, although you may have been present at a kidnapping, it must be proven that you actually participated in the crime in order to be convicted of the offense.

If you are facing child abduction or kidnapping charges in California, contact a child abduction attorney at Summit Defense Law Offices for a free initial consultation.