A parent in New York who takes their child and does not have legal custody of that child might be charged with kidnapping. International parental kidnapping is also a crime under federal law. However, there are other forms of kidnapping as well.
Kidnapping may include keeping a person confined in a space or taking them somewhere against their will. In some cases, kidnapping may be in tandem with another unlawful offense including extortion or the commission of another crime. Under federal law, kidnapping carries serious penalties. A parent who kidnaps a child internationally may face up to three years in prison. Other types of kidnapping may result in a lifetime prison sentence in New York.
New York law defines kidnapping as the abduction of another person. This means either threatening deadly physical force or restraining or confining a person so that they cannot escape. Kidnapping is either considered a first or second-degree crime. Actions such as asking for ransom or physically or sexually abusing the person may result in it being charged as first-degree kidnapping.
Kidnapping charges may be extremely serious, and a person facing such charges may want to work with an attorney. It might be possible to make a plea deal with the prosecution in which a person pleads guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a lighter sentence. A person might also have been present at the incident without being involved. It may also be possible that the circumstances as described are simply not true. For example, the person might not have been restrained or prevented from leaving. An attorney might also look at the circumstances around gathering evidence and taking the accused person into custody. If their rights were violated, some of the evidence or the case may be dismissed.