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South Carolina Criminal Code 16-3-910: Kidnapping
Under South Carolina Criminal Laws 16-3-910, (SC Criminal Code) the crime of Kidnapping is a Felony offense. “Kidnapping” may involve seizing, abducting, confining, and/or carrying away the alleged victim.
Being charged with a felony (or misdemeanor) criminal charge is not the same as being convicted. You are presumed innocent.
The State (the prosecuting attorney) carries the Burden of Proof in criminal charges.
In order to be convicted of a criminal offense, the Solicitor’s office (the prosecutor for South Carolina) must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- An abduction, carrying away, or confinement
- Of another person
- By the Defendant
- Without legal justification or authority
Allegations of “kidnapping” involve carrying away (taking away) or restraining another person, without legal authority or justification.
While often referred to as “kidnapping,” the victim need not be a “minor” or child.
One important exception (and possible defense to charges) to this offense is when a minor child is being seized or taken by a parent. If a parent defies a valid custody order and transports a child from the legal guardian, they may be in violation of SC Code §16-17-495.
Kidnapping charges in South Carolina may be accompanied by other criminal charges (allegations) such as robbery, domestic violence, or sexual assault. It is important to note that the potential punishment for Kidnapping can be more severe if it involves a sexual assault or minor child or the death of the alleged victim.1. Examples of Kidnapping
The Defendant intentionally takes a random child from a public park in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He does not know the child and is not related to the victim. The Defendant takes the child to get an ice cream cone. The child’s parent calls the authorities and an amber alert is issued for the missing child. The Defendant drops the child off, unharmed, at a local business a few hours later. The Defendant may be charged with Kidnapping, a Felony Offense in South Carolina.
The Defendant offers help a mother and her child after their car breaks down on the side of Highway 5 in Lancaster. Instead of actually taking them home, the Defendant takes them to an abandoned building and demands money to return them home safely. The woman offers her purse containing cash and credit cards, but insists that’s all she has. The Defendant keeps them at the building for a total of three hours. The Defendant may be charged with two counts of Kidnapping, a Felony criminal charge in SC.
The Defendant and his girlfriend break up after dating for five years. The Defendant is very close to his ex-girlfriend’s eleven year old son. The Defendant wants to take the child fishing one last time before officially moving away. The Defendant decides not to ask his ex-girlfriend for permission and picks the child up from school to go fishing on Lake Wylie in Tega Cay. Afterwards he drives to a Dairy Queen in Mecklenburg County for some ice cream. The Defendant may be charged with Kidnapping in South Carolina, a Felony Offense, because he did not have consent from his ex-girlfriend or legal custody of the child. He may also face federal criminal charges for crossing a state line and possible felony criminal charges in North Carolina.2. Related Offenses to Kidnapping
Other related crimes offenses include:
- SC Code § 16-3-910: Kidnapping
- SC Code §16-17-495: Custodial Interference
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-330: Robbery and Attempted Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon (Felony)
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-17-530: Public Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor)
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-3-600: Assault and Battery in the First Degree (Felony)
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-3-510: Hazing (Misdemeanor)
- North Carolina Criminal Law 14-39: Second Degree Kidnapping (Hostage, Ransom, Shield, or Terror)
- North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-33(a): Simple Assault Involving Physical Contact
There are certain defenses and strategies that can be used against a charge for Kidnapping such as legal custody, mistaken identity, consent by the victim or legal guardian, etc. In order to determine the most appropriate defense for your specific case, you should consult with an experienced criminal lawyer in South Carolina.4. Penalties of a Kidnapping Conviction
Under South Carolina Criminal Code 16-3-910, Kidnapping is a Felony, allowing for a maximum period of incarceration of up to 30 years. The punishment can be more severe if any other criminal charges accompany the kidnapping, such as assault, robbery, murder, sex offenses like rape, sodomy, etc.
In addition to incarceration, an individual convicted of kidnapping may be placed on the Sex Offender Registry if the alleged victim is under the age of eighteen or if the kidnapping involved a sexual offense.5. Criminal Defense for Kidnapping in South Carolina
If you have been charged or are being accused of Kidnapping in SC, it’s important to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and request an attorney immediately.
A felony conviction can carry severe punishments, impacting your reputation in the community, and negatively impact future job and housing opportunities.
Powers Law Firm PA offers a free and confidential consultation for criminal charges in the upstate region of South Carolina including York, Lancaster, and Cherokee counties. Attorney Chris Beddow is responsible for all South Carolina cases (and SC website content) at our firm.
CALL NOW: 803-504-6686