Connecticut Kidnapping Attorney
Experienced Attorneys Defending Individuals Accused of Kidnapping in Connecticut
At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC, our Connecticut kidnapping attorneys are committed to providing fully personalized, high-quality legal representation to our clients. We firmly believe that every person deserves their day in court. If you were charged with kidnapping, unlawful restraint, custodial interference, or any related offense, you need professional legal help. We are prepared to protect your legal rights. For a strictly confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us at our Connecticut law office by calling (203) 327-1500.
Connecticut Law: Kidnapping Charges
Kidnapping is a very serious criminal offense. Under Connecticut law, a defendant commits the crime of kidnapping if they knowingly abduct another person against their will. There is a common misconception that all kidnapping cases involve children as victims. While kidnapping certainly can involve children, the victim of this offense may also be an adult. Indeed, any person can be a victim of kidnapping.
If a person is abducted and held against their will, the responsible party may face kidnapping charges. The severity of these charges will depend on the specific nature of the case. In some cases, kidnapping can be charged as a Class A felony offense in Connecticut. Under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-92, a defendant is guilty of first degree kidnapping if another person was abducted with the intent to:
- Elicit the payment of ransom; or
- Force a third party to take (or not take) some action;
- Injure the kidnapped person, sexually abuse the kidnapped person, or terrorize either the kidnapped person or some third person; or
- Advance or facilitate another felony offense; or
- Interfere with a core government function.
Class A felony kidnapping is a serious criminal charge. In Connecticut, this offense is punishable by a sentence of between 10 years and 25 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Other kidnapping charges are also subject to strict criminal penalties, including the possibility of mandatory prison sentences.
What are the Defenses to Kidnapping Charges in Connecticut?
As with other criminal charges, Connecticut prosecutors can only convict a defendant of kidnapping if they can prove all of the required elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to remember that the state has the burden of presenting compelling evidence to support its selected criminal charge. In addition, there are a number of different affirmative defenses that can be raised in kidnapping cases. Specifically, some of the most important kidnapping defenses available in Connecticut include:
- Lack of knowledge that a kidnapping occurred; or
- The defendant is a parent or other party fleeing domestic violence; or
- The defendant was a relative and they were acting solely to gain lawful control of the victim.
Beyond these defenses, kidnapping charges can also be reduced if the alleged offender voluntarily released the victim into a safe place. While prosecutors can still pursue kidnapping charges in these cases, the severity of the penalties is likely to be reduced if the defendant took voluntary action to help ensure the safety of the victim before action was taken by law enforcement.
Related Offenses: Unlawful Restraint and Custodial Interference
Not every kidnapping case is the same. Indeed, kidnapping cases are often deeply complex. In some circumstances, kidnapping or alleged kidnapping may be charged as a related offense:
- Custodial Interference Charges in Connecticut: Parents, relatives, and other close family friends may face custodial interference charges as an alternative to kidnapping. Under Connecticut law, custodial interference is a Class A misdemeanor offense. It occurs when one party improperly denies the custody rights of another party either by taking or refusing to return a child to someone who has valid custody rights. A parent who simply refuses to drop their kid back off after their weekend visitation time may not be guilty of kidnapping, but they may still be charged with custodial interference. Of course, being charged with either kidnapping or custodial interference may have an adverse impact on one’s family law rights.
- Unlawful Restraint Charges in Connecticut: Unlawful restraint occurs when an individual improperly restricts the freedom of another party. Unlawful restraint is a complicated offense because it can involve so many different specific scenarios and fact patterns—from locking another person in a room to blocking someone in with a car. Generally, unlawful restraint does not involve the alleged offender moving the alleged victim to another location, but simply restricting their movements. Under Connecticut law, this offense can be charged as either a Class D felony or as a Class A misdemeanor. When unlawful restraint involves actual harm to the victim or it creates a substantial risk of physical harm to the victim, it will be charged as a felony.
Why Choose the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC
There are few things more stressful and unnerving than being charged with a serious criminal offense—especially if the charges are based on false pretenses. At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC, our Connecticut kidnapping defense lawyers use decades of combined legal experience to provide zealous representation to our clients. Among other things, our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys are prepared to:
- Listen to your story, answer your questions, and explain the kidnapping charges;
- Investigate the case and obtain any available evidence demonstrating your innocence;
- Carefully assess and identify your available options; and
- Take action to build a strong, effective legal defense.
Kidnapping charges should always be handled on a case-by-case basis. Our experienced Connecticut defense attorneys will take the time to understand exactly why charges have been filed and what needs to be done to protect your rights and secure your future—whether that is fighting back aggressively against false or unfair charges or looking for an option to reduce penalties and preserve your freedom.
Discuss Your Case With Our Connecticut Kidnapping Lawyer Today
At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC, our Connecticut kidnapping attorneys represent clients facing the full range of kidnapping charges. If you or your family member was accused of arrested for kidnapping, we are here to help. For a confidential criminal defense consultation, please contact our law firm today by calling (203) 327-1500. With an office located in Connecticut, we handle kidnapping charges throughout the state of Connecticut, including in Middlesex County, Hartford County, Fairfield County, and Litchfield County.
Some Connecticut Misdemeanors Have Become Felonies
Over the past two decades, the Connecticut legislature has amended our state’s criminal laws to change numerous misdemeanor crimes into felony offenses. Legislators are constantly changing criminal laws to keep in line with what they believe to be the public opinion of their supporters. If certain politicians want to seem tough on crime, one simple step is to create harsher charges or penalties for defendants to face.
Specifically, reports indicate that 49 different misdemeanors have been changed into felonies since 1995. These charges were escalated in two primary ways:
- An additional aggravating element was added that would escalate a misdemeanor to a felony.
- The elements of the offense remained the same while the penalties increased.
In both of these situations, a defendant may be surprised to learn that he is facing felony charges when he believed he was not committing a serious crime. These numerous changes show that you can never take it for granted that your seemingly minor crime will have limited penalties. Instead, laws can be changed and charges can be increased without you ever realizing it until you are suddenly facing felony charges and the possible penalties that come with these serious convictions.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Penalties
In Connecticut, the difference between the possible penalties of a misdemeanor and felony conviction can be severe. Consider, for example, the following maximum penalties:
- Class B misdemeanor – $1,000 fine and six months in jail
- Class A misdemeanor – $2,000 fine and one year in jail
Even the most serious type of misdemeanor will not result in a state prison sentence, as the maximum imprisonment is one year. On the other hand, the following are maximum penalties for Connecticut felonies:
- Class D felony – $5,000 fine and one to five years in prison
- Class C felony – $10,000 fine and one to ten years in prison
- Class B felony – $15,000 fine and one to 20 years in prison
- Class A felony – $20,000 fine and ten to 25 years in prison
As you can see, the difference between a misdemeanor and felony conviction can be severe.
Never Trust the Law as It Is
The national climate is definitely not defense-minded. Instead, a large portion of the public expects legislators to be tough on criminals and seek punishment to the fullest extent of the law. On the federal level, the Attorney General’s office is focused on seeking the maximum allowable penalties when only a couple years ago, the trend was toward decriminalization of many offenses and finding solutions other than jail time for nonviolent offenders. This is just further proof that you can never rely on a specific trend when it comes to criminal laws on the state or federal level. Trends can – and will – change with the political majority and this can cause unexpected consequences for criminal defendants.
For this reason – among others – it is critical that criminal defendants seek representation by an attorney whose primary focus is criminal law. When a lawyer spends the majority of their time handling criminal cases, they have the opportunity to delve into the finer points of criminal laws, as well as stay up to date on the constant ebbs and flows of the severity of criminal consequences in the U.S. A criminal defense lawyer can advise you of the possible penalties you face from the first meeting and will know to approach your defense strategy with the appropriate seriousness from the very beginning.
On the other hand, if an attorney regularly splits their time between different types of legal cases and clients, they may spend a significant amount of time focused on civil law and may not have a chance to keep track of changing criminal laws in Connecticut. For this reason, this attorney may mistakenly believe that your offense is minor when in reality, it is a serious felony that can mean substantial jail time. This is only one of many considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right law firm to defend your rights in a Connecticut or federal criminal case.