If a North Carolina resident takes a person he or she does not have custody over against the person’s will, that resident could be accused of kidnapping. For example, a parent who does not have custody of a child could be accused of kidnapping depending on the circumstance.
There are both federal and state kidnapping laws, though states generally prosecute kidnapping unless the person is taken across state lines. However, kidnapping is still a serious federal offense and could result in a 20-year prison sentence. When it comes to international parental kidnapping, the courts where the person was taken will generally have jurisdiction over the case. If the country has adopted the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, international civil law will also play a role. However, it should be noted that the Hague Convention only determines where the case should be heard, not who should have custody of the child.
Because the consequences for convictions on kidnapping charges can be severe, there are several different defenses that could be mounted against the accusations. For example, if the alleged kidnapping victim is an adult, he or she could have consented to being moved or to accompanying the accused person. It can also be argued that the accused person had a lack of intent to use deadly force. The alleged incident could have been a mistake or the insanity defense could be used if there is evidence that the accused person has a mental illness.
Those accused of kidnapping or other felonies could potentially face years behind bars. A criminal law attorney may review the case to determine if law enforcement violated the person’s rights when being taken into custody.