A news story broke today that Terry Lee, a convicted sex offender and a citizen of Georgia, was arrested in Tennessee after allegedly kidnapping his former girlfriend from a local market in Georgia. He was pulled over for driving over 100 MPH when the officer noticed the passenger's apparent injuries.
The officer reported that her injuries were not only visible and noticeable, but possibly a sign of a struggle with Lee.
Lee has been charged with driving on a suspended license, speeding, and kidnapping.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I'd like to explain the law behind kidnapping in Georgia in light of this case.
What constitutes a charge of kidnapping?
Georgia law defines kidnapping in Georgia as:
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. (O.C.G.A. §16-5-40).
In Georgia, even a slight movement is enough to constitute the crime of kidnapping.
What is the penalty for a kidnapping conviction?
As with any other crime, in order to be convicted of kidnapping, the state of Georgia will have to prove that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If he or she is found guilty and convicted of kidnapping, then he or she will be convicted of a felony.
There are different types of punishment for this felony charge depending on the circumstances.
- If the victim is 14 or older, the prison sentence is between ten and twenty years.
- If the victim is younger than 14, the prison sentence is heightened to either a life sentence or a minimum of twenty years with probation for life after release.
- If the kidnapping was for a ransom or if any bodily injury occurred to the victim, the prison sentence will be for life or the death penalty is also an option.
Defenses to Kidnapping in Georgia
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I always note that an individual should never be assumed guilty of a crime just because he or she has been accused of committing that offense. That being said I'd like to highlight some of the Georgia Criminal Defenses that can be applied against kidnapping in Georgia. These defenses include but are not limited to:
- The victim was not actually moved
- The victim consented to being moved
- The victim was a child who needed protection
If the facts listed in the news story are true, Lee is looking at some harsh penalties. His girlfriend is above the age of fourteen which starts his minimum sentence at 10 years imprisonment.
However, she was reported to be visibly and seriously injured which could mean a life sentence in Georgia.
If you or a loved one has been accused of kidnapping in Georgia, contact us today.