First-degree kidnapping in Nevada is taking an adult for ransom or intent to harm or taking a child from his or her parents or guardians. Kidnapping may involve the intent to commit sexual assault, robbery, extortion, murder, and or battery with substantial bodily harm.

The crime is a category A felony punishable by a prison term of 15 years, 40 years, or life.

Second-degree kidnapping is a category B felony punishable by two to 15 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Penalty For Kidnapping

If the victim of kidnapping sustained substantial bodily harm, the sentence may be:

  • Life in Nevada State Prison with no possibility of parole
  • Life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years
  • 40 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years

If the defendant used a deadly weapon to commit first degree kidnapping, probation is not an option. Defendants will receive an additional prison term of one to 20 years for using a deadly weapon. However, the additional sentence may not exceed the length of the underlying kidnapping sentence.

If the victim did not sustain substantial bodily harm, the sentence for first-degree kidnapping is 15 years or life in prison with the possibility of parole after five years.

Sexually-motivated first or second degree kidnapping carries lifetime supervision. In some cases, lifetime supervision may end after 10 years.

Child Custody Kidnapping

When a parent or an individual with custodial rights kidnaps his or her own child, the crime is a category D felony punishable by one to four years in prison and a possible $5,000 fine. The charges may be reduced to a misdemeanor if the judge finds that:

  • The defendant doesn’t have any prior kidnapping conditions and the child wasn’t severely harmed
  • The “interest of justice” requires a lesser sentence

A misdemeanor kidnapping is punishable by six months in jail and or up to $1,000 in fines.

Kidnapping Defenses

A defendant charged with kidnapping may use one of the following potential defenses:

1. The defendant didn’t have intent: The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to show that the defendant’s actions were deliberate. First-degree kidnapping may be reduced to second-degree charges if the prosecutor is unable to prove the defendant intended to harm the adult victim or hold him or her for ransom.

2. The adult “victim” gave consent: This is if the alleged victim was at least 18 years old and gave permission to the defendant to be taken and this consent wasn’t obtained through threat, duress, or fraud. Defense attorneys may present recorded communications between the defendant and “victim”, surveillance footage, and eyewitness testimony to argue this defense.

3. The defendant was falsely accused: The defense attorney must show that the accuser had a motivation to lie and levy false allegations of kidnapping, such as in the case of angry former partners or co-parents in child custody disputes.

It’s important to note that confining the victim is also considered first degree kidnapping — the victim doesn’t have to be physically moved during the crime.

If a kidnapping victim was allegedly transported through or detained in the state of Nevada, state prosecutors have jurisdiction.

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