Florida characterizes the crime of kidnapping as the confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person against her or his will. Kidnapping should be submitted “forcibly, secretly, or by threat” and without lawful authority. Furthermore, the person committing the crime must have the intent to:
- hold the kidnapped person for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage;
- commit or facilitate the commission of any felony;
- inflict bodily harm upon or terrorize the victim or another person; or
- interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
To be clear, the confinement of a child under 13 years of age is “against his/her will” if the offender confines the child without the consent of his or her parent or legal guardian.
Concerning an abducting performed with the purpose to “submit or encourage the commission of any crime,” the last mentioned, non-kidnapping felony need not have been completed in order to secure a kidnapping conviction.
The Florida Supreme Court uses a three-prong test to decide if the development or repression of an individual during the commission of another lawful offense is adequate to legitimize a kidnapping conviction. To constitute kidnapping, the necessary movement or confinement occurring within the context of the other felony:
Here is a more detailed review of Florida’s kidnapping laws.
Florida Statutes Section 787.01
Kidnapping is a felony of the first degree punishable by a sentence of imprisonment in a state penitentiary of up to 30 years. The court may also impose an additional fine of up to $10,000 for commission of the crime.
Aggravated kidnapping, including the kidnapping of a child under the age of 13, is punished more severely than its non-aggravated counterpart and is classified as a “life felony.” Such felonies are subject to a sentence of a term of imprisonment in a state penitentiary for life, or a split sentence consisting of at least 25 years in prison followed by probation or community control for the remainder of the person’s natural life; and an optional additional fine of up to $15,000.
Previous Offenders who have been convicted of a violent felony (or attempt or conspiracy to commit such felony) — including kidnapping — face even harsher penalties for subsequent violent felony convictions. Such persons are deemed to be “habitual violent felony offenders” and may be sentenced, in the case of multiple kidnapping convictions, to a term of life in prison, with no eligibility for release for 15 years.
Aggravated kidnapping occurs when a dangerous weapon or firearm is possessed, displayed, used or threatened; the victim is a law enforcement or correctional officer or other specified public employee; the offense arises in the scope of the victim’s official duties; and when a person kidnaps a child less than 13 years old.
Kidnapping a Child: A person commits the offense of “kidnapping upon a child under the age of 13” when, in the course of the kidnapping, he or she commits one or more of the following against or upon the child:
- Aggravated child abuse
- Sexual battery
- Lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, conduct, or exhibition
- Procurement of the child for prostitution, or forcing, compelling or coercing the child to become a prostitute
- Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited
- Lack of intent
- Consent of kidnapped adult person or the kidnapped child’s parent or legal guardian