An unidentified woman matched with a man on Tinder last week. She usually checks her online dating app matches by doing a light online search. She did the same with him only to find that he was wanted in the state of Texas for kidnapping his daughter. The woman just happened to be at a restaurant and saw some Lithonia police officers eating at a table near by, so she approached them and told them what she had just learned.
Police used the man's cellphone to track him to a hotel in Alpharetta. They placed him under arrest and reunited the four-year-old girl with her mother.
Although the alleged kidnapper is wanted in Texas, let's take a look at what kidnapping in Georgia looks like.
Kidnapping in Georgia
The offense of kidnapping is defined by the Georgia Code (O.C.G.A. §16-5-40).
(a) A person commits the offense of kidnapping when such person abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority or warrant and holds such other person against his or her will. (b) (1) For the offense of kidnapping to occur, slight movement shall be sufficient; provided, however, that any such slight movement of another person which occurs while in the commission of any other offense shall not constitute the offense of kidnapping if such movement is merely incidental to such other offense. (2) Movement shall not be considered merely incidental to another offense if it: (A) Conceals or isolates the victim; (B) Makes the commission of the other offense substantially easier; (C) Lessens the risk of detection; or (D) Is for the purpose of avoiding apprehension.
The penalty for a kidnapping is a felony in Georgia. However, the penalty differs depending on the age of the alleged victim. If the alleged victim is 14 years-old or older, the accused person will be facing between ten to twenty years of imprisonment. If the alleged victim is younger than 14, the accused person will be facing life imprisonment or a split sentence including a minimum of 25 years-old followed by probation for life. There are some other differentiating factors for penalty depending on the nature of the kidnapping. If the accused person kidnapped the alleged victim for ransom, then he or she will face life imprisonment or the death sentence. Also, if the alleged victim received bodily injury while kidnapped, then the accused person will face life imprisonment or the death sentence.
A kidnapping conviction carries some serious punishment, and the accused kidnapper will need a top-rated Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. An experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney will know the best applicable defenses to use in each individual kidnapping case. Georgia Criminal Defenses for kidnapping include: protecting the child from imminent harm, the victim was not moved, mistake, consent, a mistake in the age of the victim, and of course, innocence.
Here, at the Law Offices of Lawson and Berry, we do not assume anyone is guilty. Contact us today.