Many people get a lot of their information about the criminal justice system from popular media. They may have an inaccurate idea of what constitutes kidnapping as a result.
When a television show or movie depicts kidnapping, it is almost always a dramatic, premeditated crime involving an attempt at ransom. Since you don’t have any intention of depriving someone of their freedom or access to their loved ones, but you probably just assume that you would never get accused of kidnapping. However, uncomfortable situations could develop in a way that leads to accusations of kidnapping under South Carolina law.
How does the state define kidnapping?
In South Carolina, kidnapping is a felony that might lead to as much as 30 years in state custody. Several different behaviors may qualify as kidnapping. Grabbing someone and then restraining them against their will would constitute kidnapping. So too would tricking someone into entering a place they cannot exit.
A first date gone horribly wrong or an aggressive encounter with a delivery professional could lead to allegations of kidnapping, especially if they entered your home. If someone feels like they can’t exit your house safely, that might be enough for the state to bring charges against you. Even if the alleged victim lives there or has lived there before, being prevented from leaving constitutes kidnapping.
Even your actions in public could lead to accusations of kidnapping or its attempt. If people think you have tried to lure someone away from public spaces for nefarious purposes, like the proverbial stranger offering candy from the back of a van, that misconception could also lead to kidnapping charges.
The more you know, the better you can avoid potential problems. If you are facing kidnapping charges, it’s important to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.