Kidnapping Is a Federal Crime

child abduction, Illinois criminal defense attorney, parental abduction,In 1932, the abduction of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. became one of the most highly publicized crimes of the 20th century. It led to Congress passing the Federal Kidnapping Act, or the “Lindbergh Law,” which prohibits the illegal transport of babies over state lines.

Illinois Penalties and Statutes

According to Illinois statute, kidnapping occurs when a person knowingly and secretly confines another person against their will by using force, threats, deceit, or enticement. Kidnapping also includes the confinement of anyone who is mentally ill and a child of less than 13 years of age. The state imposes mandatory imprisonment for not less than six years and a fine of up to $25,000. Secret confinement is an essential element of kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is a Class X Felony.

Divorced or Separated Parents Can Be Guilty of Kidnapping

Any person is guilty of kidnapping (including parents) if he or she transports minors across state lines in a situation that prevents the minors from seeing their parents. Parents do not necessarily have to be married for either parent to be able to claim visitation rights, and if such rights are enforced by a court order.

Family Members Who Aid and Abet the Kidnapping Are Also Liable

Any person who, with intent to obstruct or prevent efforts to locate the child victim, knowingly conceals or alters physical evidence or furnishes false information to authorities can also be charged under kidnapping laws.

Aggravated Kidnapping

If the person accused of kidnapping also engages in neglect, abuse, concealment or detention of the abducted child, threatens the child, demands payment for the return of the same or if the defendant committed the offense with an armed weapon, then aggravated charges apply.

Do Not Shield Child Kidnappers

While family members may be tempted to “help” fleeing parents by aiding and abetting in the kidnapping or shielding the accused from the full effects of the law, this is also punishable under Illinois statute. The only legal authority to make a determination in child custody cases is a family court.

What to Do If Your Child Is Kidnapped

Immediately go to the police in the area the child was abducted. Ask to speak to the youth officer and tell this person you wish to make a report of child abduction. The law says that the police must follow specific rules in the case of child abduction.

You should take the following documents with you when you go:

  1. A copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  2. A copy of the Illinois Child Abduction Statute;
  3. Your identification;
  4. Any copies of court orders about custody of your child; and
  5. Write down all the badge numbers of the officers involved in your case.

You may also quickly find that you need the help of a lawyer to assist you. If your child has been kidnapped, you should also immediately contact a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney, we are prepared to help in any way that we can.

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