When kidnapping may be charged as a federal crime

In Illinois, kidnapping may be charged under state or federal law. The offense can become a federal crime if the circumstances meet one of six different scenarios. People who are charged with kidnapping may be initially arrested by state or local law enforcement officers but then transferred into the federal court system depending on the circumstances of the offenses.

The U.S. Department of Justice outlines six different scenarios when kidnapping is a federal crime. Noncustodial parents who take children younger than the age of 16 to other countries may face federal kidnapping charges. People who kidnap officials of foreign governments or others who have international protection may also be federally charged.

Kidnapping federal officials is a federal crime. People who transport kidnapping victims across state lines may be charged in federal court because the federal government is in charge of interstate commerce. Kidnapping offenses that happen in aircraft or maritime jurisdictions may also be charged as federal kidnapping offenses. Unless noncustodial parents take children to other countries, they will be charged with state kidnapping offenses rather than federal kidnapping crimes.

Like other federal crimes, kidnapping charges can lead to severe penalties. People who face federal kidnapping charges may face decades in prison. Individuals who are facing federal charges may benefit by getting help from criminal defense lawyers who are experienced with handling federal crimes cases. The attorneys may review all of the evidence in the case to identify any potential issues with the government's case. They may file evidentiary motions to try to secure the suppression of some types of evidence against their clients as well as negotiate with the U.S. Attorney's Office in an effort to secure favorable pleas or sentences that are a departure from the federal sentencing guidelines. In some cases, attorneys may go to court to fight for their clients.

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