Kidnapping is a very serious crime in Florida. Kidnapping can be committed in several different ways, but the most common method of kidnapping may be defined as forcibly imprisoning a person against his/her will with the intent to harm the person or commit a felony. In Florida, kidnapping is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, or even life in prison if the victim is under 13 years of age and is abused or injured during the crime. From movies and television, many people may think that kidnapping requires some prolonged confinement of a person against his/her will. However, kidnapping only requires fairly minimal confinement or imprisonment to complete the crime.
In a recent criminal case near Jacksonville, FL, the defendant became angry with the victim, hit her with a chair, dragged her by her hair into the next room, beat her until she was unconscious and dragged her outside and continued to beat her. The entire incident lasted approximately seven minutes. The defendant was charged with and convicted of kidnapping and attempted second degree murder. The criminal defense lawyer for the defendant tried to have his conviction for kidnapping reversed based on the fact that the movement of the victim was not independently significant to the attempted murder charge and was only slight and incidental to that charge. However, the appellate court disagreed and found that these facts were sufficient to establish a kidnapping conviction.
Kidnapping is a very serious charge with significant penalties in Florida. In order to be convicted of kidnapping, the state does not have to prove the defendant confined the victim for a long period of time. If the confinement or movement of the victim is truly slight and incidental to another crime, the evidence may not be sufficient to support a kidnapping conviction. However, even a few minutes of holding a person down or moving the victim to another area against his/her will can be enough for a kidnapping conviction and a long prison sentence.