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Understanding kidnapping charges in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Kidnapping is a serious crime that involves the unlawful taking, transportation and confinement of another person against their will.

A variety of actions can lead to kidnapping charges in Pennsylvania. Here are some key elements that law enforcement officials look for when determining whether to file these charges.

Unlawful removal or confinement

The basis of a kidnapping charge is the unlawful removal or confinement of another person. This removal or confinement has to be against the person’s will. It also needs to be substantial, meaning that you took the individual a good distance away from the environment they were in or confined them for a significant period of time.


To face kidnapping charges, there must be proof that you intended to facilitate a felony, inflict bodily injury, terrorize the individual taken or another person or interfere with a political or governmental function. If the prosecution cannot show intent, they may reduce the charges to a less serious offense.

Age of the person involved

Pennsylvania law enforcement can charge you with kidnapping if you unlawfully take or confine a person who is under 13 years of age or mentally incompetent, regardless of the actual distance involved. The law considers this an inherently serious act due to the vulnerability of these individuals.

Ransom or reward

If you confine or remove another person with the aim of securing a ransom, reward or other benefits in exchange for their release, you may face kidnapping charges. This can also apply if you use the individual as a shield or hostage.

Kidnapping charges in Pennsylvania are serious and can arise from a variety of actions. By understanding these factors, you can better comprehend how law enforcement officials and the court system determine kidnapping charges.