Holding someone against their will is a serious offense in Nebraska, and doing so with the intent to terrorize or cause physical harm can result in felony charges. However, sometimes an alleged kidnapping can stem from a simple misunderstanding, miscommunication, or another form of good-faith confusion that makes criminal prosecution unwarranted.
To effectively defend against kidnapping charges, you may need help from a skilled federal crimes attorney who can clarify the situation. Whether you need to contest the assertion that you committed a crime or simply mitigate the penalties you might be facing, a seasoned Omaha kidnapping lawyer can work with you to pursue a favorable outcome in your case.
Differentiating between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment in Omaha
According to state law, kidnapping charges and false imprisonment charges both involve abducting or unlawfully restraining a person. Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-313 specifies that a person can only be charged with kidnapping if they abduct and/or restrain someone to:
- Use them as a hostage or human shield
- Pursue a ransom payment
- Commit a felony offense
- Terrorize another person
- Interfere with government or political functions
Kidnapping is typically charged as a Class IA felony. However, if the defendant voluntarily releases the individual safely and securely without having caused any serious physical harm, they would be charged with a Class II felony.
False imprisonment, on the other hand, is a less serious offense that can be charged in either the first or second degree. Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-314 defines first-degree false imprisonment as knowingly restraining or abducting someone and terrorizing them, putting them at risk of serious injury, or holding them in involuntary servitude. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-315, second-degree false imprisonment involves restraining someone without legal authority to do so.
Depending on the degree of the charges, false imprisonment can be a Class IIIA felony or a Class I misdemeanor. A local attorney can offer further clarification about what circumstances constitute kidnapping versus false imprisonment and help you determine the best defense strategy for your case.
Potential Consequences for Federal Kidnapping Charges
Federal courts only have jurisdiction over kidnapping cases that allegedly cross state lines. However, 18 United States Code §1201(b) states that if a suspected kidnapper fails to release their alleged victim within 24 hours of abduction, that creates a rebuttable presumption that they have crossed state lines, thereby warranting federal prosecution.
A conviction in federal court for even attempted kidnapping could result in a 20-year prison sentence, and successful kidnapping may be punishable by any sentence the court sees fit. Furthermore, a parent who takes their minor child across international borders in violation of a custody order can face up to 3 years of imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. §1204. In either case, representation from a skilled Omaha lawyer is often essential to successfully resolving federal kidnapping charges in our area.
Talk to an Omaha Kidnapping Attorney Today
Whether you are facing prosecution in federal or state court for kidnapping or false imprisonment, you should seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Even if you believe there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for your actions, failing to present your perspective effectively in court could lead to serious consequences.
An Omaha kidnapping lawyer at our firm can work tirelessly on your behalf to pursue a positive resolution to your criminal charges. Call Berry Law today to learn more in a confidential consultation.