What is Kidnapping?

Both the State of Minnesota and the Federal Government criminalize kidnapping. In general, Kidnapping is the taking someone away without their permission, and if it’s a child, without the parent’s permission.

In order to prove the crime of kidnapping, the State must prove:

  • 1.
    The defendant confined or removed a person from one place to another (within the state) without their consent, or if it is a child under 16, without the consent of the parents;
  • 2.
    That the defendant acted for the purpose of holding the person:
  • 3.
    That some part of the defendant’s act took place on or about a specific date in the county that charged the crime.

If the defendant is found guilty of the act of kidnapping, the sentence will be determined by whether the victim of the kidnapping was injured or threatened, and whether the victim was released to a safe place by the kidnapper, or if the victim escaped on their own. If a victim of a kidnapping is injured, terrorized, or threatened, the sentence is much worse.

Also it’s important to know that anyone convicted of kidnapping in Minnesota will be required to register as a predatory offender for at least 10 years! This type of registration has its own risks and complications.

What’s the difference between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is a state crime only and doesn’t require transportation or movement anywhere. It is the intentional confinement of constraint of another person without their consent; or someone else’s minor child without the parents’ consent; or the unreasonable, cruel, or excessive restraint or confinement of a child by a parent or legal guardian. A conviction for this state offense also requires predatory registration!


In federal court,

the Government has very similar elements that it must prove to convict a federal defendant of kidnapping. Here you can see the slight difference between the two jurisdictions:

  • 1.
    The defendant seized, confined, kept, or detained another person without their consent;
  • 2.
    The defendant held the person for the intent of ransom, reward, revenge, sexual gratification, or other reason;
  • 3.
    The defendant voluntarily and intentionally transported, or caused the transport of the person while they were detained, seized, kept, or confined; and
  • 4.
    The transportation was in interstate or foreign commerce.

“Interstate commerce” means business or travel between one state and another statement. The Government has to prove that the defendant crossed a state line while intentionally transporting the person, but it does not have to prove that the defendant knew they were crossing a state line. The federal statute does carve out an exception for the taking of minor children by immediate family.

It's important to note that if someone is convicted of kidnapping under federal statute, they are still required to register as a predatory offender in Minnesota, and other states as well.

Catherine is an experienced criminal defense lawyer that defends against charges of Kidnapping. If you or a loved one have been accused of Kidnapping, she can help. Call today for a free consultation.