August 26, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

You recently threatened to shoot someone outside of a convenience store if he did not drive you to a specified location. Fearful of the consequences, the person drove you to the location and contacted law enforcement personnel shortly after. Now, you are being charged with kidnapping under California Penal Code section 207.

Can you be convicted of kidnapping if you did not physically restrain the individual? This type of law can be very confusing. It is important that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to help you. Wallin & Klarich has the experience necessary to help you with your case.

What is Kidnapping? (California Penal Code section 207)


California Penal Code section 207 states that the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you of kidnapping:

  • You took, held or detained another person through the use of force or fear;
  • You moved the other person or made the other person move a substantial distance;
  • The other person did not consent to the movement; AND
  • You did not reasonably believe that the other person consented to the movement.

You used “force or fear” when you committed at least one of the following acts:

  • You used physical force to take, hold, or detain another person against his or her will; OR
  • You threatened to inflict imminent bodily harm on another person.

In the scenario above, you may be convicted of kidnapping if the prosecutor can prove the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You took the victim by using your gun to instill fear in him;
  • You moved the victim a substantial distance as a result of the driving;
  • The victim did not consent to the driving; AND
  • You did not reasonably believe that the victim consented to the driving.

Defenses to Kidnapping

Being accused of kidnapping will be a stressful experience. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending kidnapping cases. We have raised the following defenses successfully in past cases:

  • Consent
  • You may not be convicted of kidnapping if the victim consented to the movement.
  • Example: You were hitchhiking. You approached a car and asked the driver to give you a ride. The driver consented to your request and the two of you drove off. You cannot be convicted of kidnapping since the driver consented to the movement.
  • Merely present
    • The prosecutor cannot convict you under PC 207 if you were merely present during the kidnapping.
    • Example: You were with a friend at a liquor store when he decided to kidnap another person. You were present during the kidnapping, but did not participate in the kidnapping. Although you could possibly be prosecuted for aiding and abetting, you may not be convicted under PC 207 if you did not participate in the kidnapping.
  • Lack of substantial distance
    • You may be relieved from criminal liability if you did not move the victim a substantial distance during the alleged kidnapping.
    • Example: You used physical force to take a child. You took one step, put the child down, and fled the scene. Your Wallin & Klarich attorney can argue that your step does not constitute a “substantial distance.” You may not be convicted of kidnapping if the jury does not find the step to be a substantial distance.

    What Wallin & Klarich Can Do for You

    The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending clients accused of kidnapping for over 30 years. Our law firm approaches every case with the belief that our client could be one of our own family members. We are committed to being available to our clients at all times – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    Our offices are located in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Torrance, West Covina, Sherman Oaks and Victorville. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free consultation of your case. We will get through this together.

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    If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

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