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North Carolina Criminal Law 14-39: Second Degree Kidnapping (Hostage, Ransom, Shield, or Terror)

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Second Degree Kidnapping (Hostage, Ransom, Shield, or Terror) Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-39, the crime of Second Degree Kidnapping is a Felony offense involving allegations the defendant restrained or moved another person, without permission, for the purposes of holding them hostage, to terrorize them, use them as a shield, or for ransom.

The Prosecutor bears the burden of proof in all criminal charges in North Carolina. The elements of Second Degree Kidnapping for a prima facie showing by the State include:

  1. The Defendant restrained the alleged victim within an area or restrained their ability to leave or move, or that the Defendant moved the victim from one place to another
  2. Without the victim’s consent, OR without the consent of a parent or the legal guardian, if the victim is under the age of 16
  3. For the purpose of holding the victim hostage, to terrorize either the victim or someone else (includes things like parents, guardians, family members, loved ones, etc.), to use the victim as a shield, or to use the victim for the purposes of obtaining a ransom
  4. The Defendant acted without justification or excuse

To be considered “terrorizing,” the state must prove there was more than just a minor level fear or concern. In fact, the Prosecutor is required to show a heightened or intensified degree of fear.

It is also important to note that the victim does not need to actually be terrorized to establish this element, only that the terror was defendant’s intention. State v. Jones, 36 N.C. App. 447 (1978).

For purposes of permission, the Prosecutor may provide evidence that the victim was tricked or scared into giving consent. This evidence could serve to negate any consent or permission the Defendant received.

2. Examples of Second Degree Kidnapping

The Defendant picks up a random child from an apartment complex in Charlotte and takes the child home. The victim is a minor child aged 12 years old. The Defendant does not have legal authority or permission to take the child. An amber alert in Mecklenburg County is issued for the missing child. The Defendant safely drops the child off at a local business a few days later. The child is not harmed. The child is not the victim of a sexual assault. The Defendant may be charged with Second Degree Kidnapping in North Carolina, a Class E Felony Offense.

The Defendant forces a mother and her child into a vehicle by gunpoint and takes them to a warehouse. The Defendant demands money from their family in order to return them home safely. While holding the victims, the Defendant sexually assaults the mother. The Defendant may be charged with First Degree Kidnapping, a Class C Felony Offense.

**There are two degrees of kidnapping in North Carolina. If the Defendant fails to release the victim in a safe place, or if the victim is seriously injured due to the kidnapping, or in the event the Defendant sexually assaults the victim, that is deemed first degree kidnapping in North Carolina. If the person who is kidnapped is released by the Defendant in a safe place, has not suffered serious injuries, and has not been the victim of a sexual assault, such allegations would ordinarily be deemed second degree kidnapping in North Carolina.

The Defendant barricades himself and his family inside their home and refuses to let them leave. The Defendant threatens to hurt them if they try to leave. The Defendant may be charged with Second Degree Kidnapping, a Class E Felony Offense.

3. Related Offenses to Second Degree Kidnapping

Other related crimes offenses include:

4. Defenses to Second Degree Kidnapping

Second Degree Kidnapping (Hostage, Ransom, Shield, or Terror) The Defendant can challenge a Second Degree Kidnapping charge with the following common defenses: consent by the victim, the victim’s parent, or the victim’s legal guardian. Other defenses may include lack of intent, lawful purpose for the restraint, legal justification or excuse, lawful authority, etc.

5. Penalties

Under North Carolina Criminal Law 14-39: Second Degree Kidnapping is a Class E Felony, allowing for a maximum period of incarceration of up to 63 months.

The amount of active jail time that a defendant receives for a conviction of any felony offense varies for each case and depends on the Defendant’s “Prior Record Level (PRL),” together with consideration of whether the offense is to be sentenced in the aggravated, mitigated, or presumptive range of the NC Felony Sentencing laws.

6. Criminal Defense for Second Degree Kidnapping

If you have been charged or arrested for Second Degree Kidnapping in North Carolina, it’s important for you to contact an experienced Charlotte criminal defense attorney without delay.

We also help people with serious felony charges in Monroe, North Carolina in Union County, Statesville and Mooresville in Iredell County, Gastonia in Gaston County, and Salisbury in Rowan County, NC.

Our team of lawyers at Powers Law Firm PA offers a free and confidential consultation for all criminal charges, including allegations of Domestic Violence, Assault on a Female, Simple Assault, and Felony Assault and Battery charges.

A felony conviction can impact your reputation in the community, negatively impact job and housing opportunities, and suspend licensing privileges in North Carolina.

CALL NOW to schedule your free initial consultation: 704-342-4357

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