A close look at possible kidnapping defense strategies

If you’ve been charged with kidnapping, you’re facing a large legal battle, and you need to retain a top flight kidnapping attorney as soon as possible. Your future freedom for many years to come will rest heavily on how well they can defend you.

The good news is that despite being charged with kidnapping, there are many possible defense strategies that can be employed. Much of how a defense is crafted will depend on the evidence, facts and witness statements as part of the case.

One of the most common defenses centers around the fact that the victim may have consented to go with the defendant. Absent other supporting facts, this claim may have enough weight in the courtroom to raise enough reasonable doubt in the eyes of the jury.

Another possible defense is that a defendant may claim ignorance if they do not believe they are committing an act of kidnapping. For example, in child custody cases, if one parent removes a child from the other parent’s care and they believed they were doing so within the boundaries of the law, this may be enough to get charges dropped or may lead to an acquittal in a trial. A careful presentation of the facts may help draw jurors to the conclusion that a person was justified instead of the fact that they committed a kidnapping.

Sometimes, a defendant may be able to claim that they were coerced or forced under duress to commit a kidnapping. If a person is threatened with violence if they don’t commit a kidnapping, they may be able to show that imminent danger pushed them to commit a kidnapping.

While it is a lot less prevalent and much more of a long shot, a defense attorney may be able to make the claim of insanity. Without rational thought being present, kidnapping charges may be reduced to a lesser charge, although the defendant may wind up paying a price through mental health confinement as a result.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.

Common defenses against aggravated assault charges

As opposed to simple assault, aggravated assault occurs when the amount of violence in an assault reaches a certain level of injury or the threat of injury could be significant.

For example, slapping a person across the face could be a simple assault, but using a gun, or threatening to use a gun could be construed as an aggravated assault. Aggravated assaults occur when the assault takes place against a member in a protected class, such as a fire fighter, police officer, paramedic, social services worker or an elderly person.

A skilled lawyer who has experience in aggravated assault cases may be able to craft several possible defenses in this type of case.

Self defense is the most common of these. You can claim self defense if you can show that you reasonably believed that you or someone else was in immediate danger and feared suffering death or a serious injury. You must also be able to show that the use of force was necessary and that you only used as much force as was necessary to repel the immediate danger.

Another defense is that you did not willfully commit an aggravated assault. In other words, you may have been coerced by someone else to commit the act, perhaps because you or a loved one was threatened if you did not act the way that you did.

In addition, innocent people are accused of crimes they did not commit all the time. A witness may make a mistake under the pressure and in the heat of the moment of a crime being committed. Being falsely accused may also stem from the fact that someone is angry at you and they are seeking a form of revenge. This can happen when an angry ex-spouse or lover is involved, or may involve custody battle or disputes between business partners.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities

The difference between being charged with a Federal crime and a State crime

When you are charged with a crime, one of the keys to finding the right lawyer is understanding how your case will be charged, so that you can find the right attorney based on their appropriate experience.

Basically, you will either be charged with a state level crime or a federal level crime, meaning that you’ll want an attorney who either specializes as state criminal attorney or as a federal criminal attorney.

But how do you know which level of crime you’ll be charged with, and what are the implications of each?

Typically, if a crime is committed in only a single state, it will be considered a state crime, unless federal law specifically supercedes it. This means, murder, robbery, assaults, traffic violations and the like will be considered state level crimes. Any crime that takes place in more than one state or takes place on federal property will generally be considered a federal level crime. This may include crimes such as drug trafficking, IRS violations, mail fraud, kidnapping, immigration offenses or counterfeiting, among many others.

In some cases, a crime may either be charged as a state or a federal crime. In those instances the US Constitution has a “Supremacy Clause” which means that a federal law will take precedence over state law.

One of the most important distinctions between state and federal crimes involves sentencing after a conviction. While state courts are often guided by state legislation, judges do often times have discretion on minimum and maximum penalties. Federal courts rely on Federal Sentencing Guidelines which are applied in calculating penalties for convicted felons. Federal courts also use a point system when considering enhancements to sentences, based on various factors such as a person’s background, criminal history, and facts of the case.

Cates & Garvey Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.