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NYC Kidnapping Attorney

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Experienced Legal Representation for the Most Serious Offenses

Kidnapping is considered one of the most serious offenses under New York Penal Law, and as such, it carries hefty penalties for those convicted. If you or a loved one is facing kidnapping charges in New York, it is essential to secure the services of a seasoned NYC kidnapping lawyer who can mount an aggressive defense and provide the most thorough investigation possible.

Mehdi Essmidi is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former NYC prosecutor with extensive experience defending clients against kidnapping offenses and other serious criminal charges. If you’re facing kidnapping charges in New York City, contact us any time, day or night, for a free consultation.

Understanding Kidnapping Crimes in the New York Penal Law

In New York, kidnapping is subdivided into two degrees: first degree kidnapping and second degree kidnapping. Both of these offenses are classified as violent felonies, but first degree kidnapping is a class A-I felony (the most severe classification), while second degree kidnapping is a class B felony. The distinction between the two lies in the specific elements of the crime and any aggravating circumstances.

First Degree Kidnapping:

Under New York Penal Law § 135.25(1), a person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree when they abduct another person with the intent to:

  1. Receive a ransom, reward, or other benefits;
  2. Accomplish or advance the commission of a felony;
  3. Inflict physical injury upon the abducted person or violate or abuse them sexually; or
  4. Terrorize or interfere with the performance of a political function.

Additionally, if the kidnapped person dies during the abduction or before they can be returned, the charge also rises to first degree.

Second Degree Kidnapping:

New York Penal Law § 135.20 defines kidnapping in the second degree as “when a person abducts another person.” Unlike first degree kidnapping, there need not be any aggravating factors or specific intent such as demanding money or causing harm to the abducted person.

Unlawful Imprisonment

There are several related offenses under New York law, including unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference. Unlawful imprisonment occurs when a person restricts another’s movement without consent, and it is classified as either a class A misdemeanor or a class E felony, depending on the circumstances.

Custodial Interference

Custodial interference involves issues of custody between parents or guardians and is typically a misdemeanor offense.

Penalties for Kidnapping Offenses

Given the severity of kidnapping offenses, New York law mandates lengthy prison sentences for those who are convicted. A first degree kidnapping conviction can result in a sentence of up to life imprisonment, whereas a second degree kidnapping conviction carries a potential sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Related offenses such as unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference carry lesser penalties, but still have the potential for significant jail time.

Defending Against Kidnapping Charges

An experienced NYC kidnapping lawyer will undertake a careful legal analysis of the case and determine the best course of action for the defense. Defending against kidnapping charges often requires challenging the allegations and proving that the defendant did not “abduct” the person, or that the abduction was lawful (i.e. a parent taking their own child).

Below are some common defenses against kidnapping charges:

Lack of Intent

A person charged with kidnapping may argue that they did not have the necessary intent to commit the crime. If the defendant can prove that they had no intention of restraining, abducting, or confining the alleged victim, the charge may be dismissed or reduced.


If the alleged victim consented to being taken, transported, or confined, the defendant may use consent as a defense. However, consent must have been given voluntarily and without coercion, threats, or force.

Insufficient Evidence

The defense may argue that the evidence presented by the prosecution is not strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense can challenge the credibility of witnesses, the reliability of physical evidence, or the admissibility of certain evidence in court.

Mistake of Fact

If the defendant can prove that they reasonably believed that the alleged victim was in danger or needed assistance, they may be able to assert a mistake of fact defense.

False Accusation

The defendant may argue that they were falsely accused of kidnapping, either due to a mistaken identity, a personal vendetta, or other reasons.


A defendant may argue that they were forced to commit the kidnapping under threat of immediate harm or death, which would make the act involuntary.

Affirmative Defenses

In some cases, a defendant may admit to the crime but present an affirmative defense, such as self-defense or defense of others. In these cases, the defendant must prove that their actions were justified under the circumstances.

It’s important to remember that each individual case is different and only an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine what they right strategy is for your specific situation.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Considering the severity of the penalties and potentially life-changing consequences, anyone facing kidnapping charges in New York should seek the most experienced legal representation possible. The NYC kidnapping lawyers at The Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C. are well-versed in the New York Penal Law and the intricacies of kidnapping cases. We understand the critical importance of a careful legal analysis and an aggressive, thorough defense strategy to protect our clients’ rights and ensure the best possible outcome for their case.

If you or a loved one is facing kidnapping charges in New York, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We serve clients in New York City, Westchester County, and surrounding areas, and our dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys and investigators is prepared to go the extra mile to provide you with the best possible legal representation. Don’t take chances with your future – contact us today and let us fight for your rights.