In California, kidnapping is a serious criminal offense. According to California Penal Code section 207, “Every person who forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, steals or takes, or holds, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and carries the person into another country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.” Kidnapping is considered a felony offense, with steep penalties including prison time, steep fines, and other severe restrictions on your freedom and future. If law enforcement has arrested you for kidnapping, here are three essential steps you should take to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.
1. Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
The scene of your arrest can be overwhelming and chaotic. However, before you start resisting or trying to explain your innocence, remember that anything you say may be used to build a case against you. Even if the arresting officers or investigators claim that they simply want to hear “your side of the story,” exercise your right to remain silent until you’ve had the opportunity to speak with your attorney. Law enforcement officers often try to coax you into explaining yourself, then use your words to incriminate you. Resist the temptation to admit, justify, or protest your actions and stay quiet and cooperative until you can call your criminal defense lawyer.
2. Understand the Charges You Face
The term “kidnapping” can seem overwhelming and overly broad. As you face an uncertain future, take some time to understand what these charges mean. For instance, prosecutors will need to prove several things in order to secure a conviction. They will need to show that you took or detained another person through force or intimidation and then transported that person across some distance. Additionally, they will need to prove that the other person did not consent to this activity and that you, the defendant, did not reasonably believe that the other person had consented to this movement. As you start working with your attorney, consider these factors to lay the groundwork for a solid defensive strategy.
3. Work With an Experienced Los Angeles County Attorney
Working with a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure you move through the criminal justice process as smoothly as possible. Your attorney will assess the specifics of your case and determine the most strategic course of action. They will look for any violations of your rights during the arrest or interrogation process to see if they can protest the charges. You can trust that they will work to obtain the best possible outcome given the circumstances of your case.
Call Wegman & Levin today at (818) 980-4000 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable and skilled Los Angeles County criminal defense attorney.