Oregon Kidnapping Defense Attorney

Pop culture’s current obsession with true crime documentaries, combined with 24/7 news coverage of certain missing person cases, has raised public awareness about the crime of kidnapping. It is no longer considered something that happens only to unattended children at the park. It is viewed as a growing public crisis, and anyone charged with it is viewed as dangerous and deranged. 

Attorney Michael R. Hughes fights to get Oregon residents who have been charged with kidnapping a fair trial, and defends them in the court of public opinion because he is passionate about protecting the rights of the accused as well as respecting the rights of victims. He understands that letting someone get abused by the justice system because they have been accused of a crime makes them a victim too. 

Hughes aggressively defends Central Oregon area residents who have been accused of kidnapping and other serious criminal charges. 

What Is Kidnapping? 

Kidnapping is a felony under both state and federal law. 

Oregon Revised Statutes 163.225 – Kidnapping in the second degree

(1) A person commits the crime of kidnapping in the second degree if, with intent to interfere substantially with another’s personal liberty, and without consent or legal authority, the person:

  • Takes the person from one place to another; or
  • Secretly confines the person in a place where the person is not likely to be found.

(2)It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection (1) of this section if:

  • The person taken or confined is under 16 years of age;
  • The defendant is a relative of that person; and
  • The sole purpose of the person is to assume control of that person.

(3)Kidnapping in the second degree is a Class B felony.

Oregon Revised Statutes 163.235 – Kidnapping in the first degree

(1)A person commits the crime of kidnapping in the first degree if the person violates ORS 163.225 (Kidnapping in the second degree) with any of the following purposes:

  • To compel any person to pay or deliver money or property as ransom;
  • To hold the victim as a shield or hostage;
  • To cause physical injury to the victim;
  • To terrorize the victim or another person; or
  • To further the commission or attempted commission of any of the following crimes against the victim:
    • Rape in the first degree, as defined in ORS 163.375 (Rape in the first degree) (1)(b)
    • Sodomy in the first degree, as defined in ORS 163.405 (Sodomy in the first degree) (1)(b); or
    • Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree, as defined in ORS 163.411 (Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree) (1)(b).

(2)Kidnapping in the first degree is a Class A felony.

If a kidnapping victim is transported across a state line, or a suspect crosses a state line, the feds can step in. Our federal kidnapping laws were passed in the 1930s in response to the kidnapping and death of the Lindbergh baby, so it is often referred to as a Lindbergh Law. State kidnapping laws are sometimes called Lindbergh laws as well. 

18 U.S. Code § 1201 – Kidnapping

(a)Whoever unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof, when—

  1. the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary, or the offender travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense;
  2. any such act against the person is done within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States;
  3. any such act against the person is done within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States as defined in section 46501 of title 49;
  4. the person is a foreign official, an internationally protected person, or an official guest as those terms are defined in section 1116(b) of this title; or
  5. the person is among those officers and employees described in section 1114 of this title and any such act against the person is done while the person is engaged in, or on account of, the performance of official duties, shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life and, if the death of any person results, shall be punished by death or life imprisonment.

(b)With respect to subsection (a)(1), above, the failure to release the victim within twenty-four hours after they shall have been unlawfully seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted, or carried away shall create a rebuttable presumption that such person has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the fact that the presumption under this section has not yet taken effect does not preclude a Federal investigation of a possible violation of this section before the 24-hour period has ended.

(c)If two or more persons conspire to violate this section and one or more of such persons do any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

(d)Whoever attempts to violate subsection (a) shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

(e)If the victim of an offense under subsection (a) is an internationally protected person outside the United States, the United States may exercise jurisdiction over the offense if (1) the victim is a representative, officer, employee, or agent of the United States, (2) an offender is a national of the United States, or (3) an offender is afterwards found in the United States. As used in this subsection, the United States includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places within the provisions of sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49. For purposes of this subsection, the term “national of the United States” has the meaning prescribed in section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(22)).

(f)In the course of enforcement of subsection (a)(4) and any other sections prohibiting a conspiracy or attempt to violate subsection (a)(4), the Attorney General may request assistance from any Federal, State, or local agency, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, any statute, rule, or regulation to the contrary notwithstanding.

(g)Special Rule for Certain Offenses Involving Children.—

  1. To whom applicable.—If—
  • the victim of an offense under this section has not attained the age of eighteen years; and
  • the offender—
    • has attained such age; and
    • is not—
    • a parent;
    • a grandparent;
    • a brother;
    • a sister;
    • an aunt;
    • an uncle; or
    • an individual having legal custody of the victim;
  • the sentence under this section for such offense shall include imprisonment for not less than 20 years.

(h)As used in this section, the term “parent” does not include a person whose parental rights with respect to the victim of an offense under this section have been terminated by a final court order.

Serious Consequences 

Kidnapping is a serious crime, and it is punished accordingly. 

In Oregon, kidnapping in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degree are both Measure 11 laws. This means that any person convicted of them faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment. For kidnapping, the mandatory minimum is 70-300 months depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. 15-17-year-olds that are charged with kidnapping are treated as adults. 

A federal kidnapping conviction does not carry a mandatory minimum sentence, but lengthy prison sentences are common punishments. 

Once you have served your time, you will still carry the burden of having been convicted of a felony. You will lose certain rights and privileges, like the right to carry a gun or vote. Your criminal record can also make it difficult to obtain a job or get desirable housing. 

Even if you avoid conviction, being accused of kidnapping is devastating. It carries a social stigma that may prevent you from living your life to its full potential unless you take action to clear your name. 

Putting up a strong defense is the only way to prevent a kidnapping conviction or accusation from haunting you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with kidnapping, or suspect you are being investigated for it, Attorney Michael Hughes is here for you.

Possible Defenses to Kidnapping Charges

The public’s obsession with true crime stories, and missing persons cases, in particular, has pushed policing in a terrible new direction. Terrified of being the next cop shop whose every move is put under a microscope and examined on a podcast or documentary, police officers across the country are deploying aggressive tactics that often cross the line into unconstitutional activity. Prosecutors are also upping their game, and overcharging offenders with the hope of avoiding negative attention. 

Attorney Michael Hughes aggressively defends his clients against illegal police activity and overzealous prosecutors. He pushes others to recognize the fact that constitutional rights don’t disappear when someone has been found guilty in the court of public opinion. The justice system is supposed to treat criminal defendants with respect, and Hughes makes sure it does. 

An Attorney Who Understands Your Side

If you are facing state or federal kidnapping charges in the state of Oregon, Attorney Michael R. Hughes can help you fight to protect your rights and make sure you are treated fairly. He won’t give you false hope, but he is a trial-hardened advocate who will respect you, and will vigorously defend your case.  Please reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.