Kidnapping is a serious issue that Nevada takes to heart, and the laws around it are designed to keep people safe. The rules about kidnapping are found in something called Nevada Revised Statute 200.310. It’s a complicated name, but it basically means this is the law that says what counts as kidnapping in Nevada and what the punishment is if someone breaks this law. At ATAC LAW, we know laws can be tough to understand. That’s why we’re here to break down NRS 200.310 for you, making it clear what Nevada says about kidnapping and how it could affect someone who’s accused of it.

NRS 200.310 | What Does Nevada Law Say About Kidnapping Charges and Penalties?

What is Kidnapping Under Nevada Law?

In the eyes of Nevada law, the act of kidnapping is a serious crime that comes in two main forms: first and second degree. Understanding the distinction between these two degrees is crucial, especially for those facing such allegations.

First-degree kidnapping is considered when an individual is taken against their will with specific harmful intentions in mind. This includes planning to demand ransom, or the intent to commit a range of serious crimes like sexual assault, extortion, robbery, killing, or causing significant physical injury.

When it comes to the younger population, if an individual under 18 is taken away from their legal guardians with the intention of keeping them away for a long period, or to conduct any illegal activities, it also falls into the category of first-degree kidnapping.

As for second-degree kidnapping, this covers situations where someone is taken against their will but doesn’t match the criteria for first-degree. This type can occur without any of the aforementioned intents like ransom or physical harm.

Distinguishing Between Federal and State Kidnapping Charges
When a kidnapping case involves federal employees or crosses state lines, federal charges may come into play. Unlike Nevada’s laws, the federal legal system does not separate kidnapping into different degrees.

Nevada’s kidnapping laws are intricate, with different levels carrying various implications. If you or someone you know is navigating through accusations related to kidnapping, it’s essential to grasp the legal distinctions.

How Severe Are Kidnapping Penalties in Nevada?

In Nevada, the legal repercussions for kidnapping are severe, with penalties significantly varying based on the degree of the kidnapping charge.

First-Degree Kidnapping: A Category A Felony
When kidnapping is classified as first-degree, the consequences are notably harsh, aligning with its status as a category A felony. The punishment hinges on whether the victim was physically harmed:

  • If there was significant bodily harm, options range from life imprisonment without parole, life with parole eligibility after 15 years, to a 40-year term with possible parole after 15 years.
  • Absence of physical harm to the victim results in a sentencing range of 15 years to life in prison, with the possibility of parole starting five years into the sentence.

It’s crucial to note that assisting in a first-degree kidnapping is treated as severely as committing the act. Moreover, the use of a deadly weapon eliminates the possibility of probation.

Second-Degree Kidnapping: A Category B Felony
For second-degree kidnapping charges, the law is somewhat more lenient but still strict, classifying the offense as a category B felony. Sentencing ranges from two to 15 years in prison, with potential fines reaching up to $15,000. However, if the involvement was solely in aiding and abetting, the financial penalty is not mandatory.

Additional Considerations for Sexually-Motivated Kidnapping
When kidnapping is driven by sexual motivation, whether first or second degree, the sentence includes lifetime supervision. There is, however, a provision that may allow an individual to be relieved from this lifelong oversight after a decade.

Enhanced Penalties for Using Deadly Weapons
Nevada law stipulates additional penalties when a kidnapping involves the use of a firearm or any other deadly weapon. This regulation brings an extra layer of punishment that may significantly increase the sentence for the convicted individual. Specifically, the law allows for:

  • An added prison term ranging from one to 20 years for incorporating a deadly weapon in the kidnapping.
  • This additional sentence cannot surpass the length of the sentence for the underlying kidnapping charge. For example, if an individual receives a two-year sentence for second-degree kidnapping, the extra penalty for using a deadly weapon cannot exceed another two years.

This aspect underlines the extensive implications of employing a deadly weapon during the commission of a kidnapping, emphasizing the state’s strict stance against the escalation of crime severity.

Child Custody Kidnapping
Cases that involve a parent or an individual with custodial rights kidnapping their own child are distinct within Nevada’s legal landscape. These circumstances usually lead to a category D felony charge, associated with a sentencing guideline of one to four years in prison and the possibility of a $5,000 fine. However, the law allows for potentially reduced sentences under specific conditions:

  • If it’s the individual’s first kidnapping offense and the child was not substantially harmed.
  • If the court deems a lesser sentence is justified “in the interest of justice.”

Under such considerations, the offense might be downgraded to a misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Crucially, evidence like the court order defining legal and physical custody can be pivotal. Abiding by the specified custody arrangement negates any charge of kidnapping, underscoring the importance of legal documentation in custodial disputes.

Is Kidnapping Considered an Offense That Could Lead to Deportation?
Kidnapping is classified as a deportable offense due to its nature as a crime involving moral turpitude. Immigrants facing criminal charges for kidnapping should immediately consult with an attorney. Legal expertise might help to mitigate the charges to a lesser offense that does not carry the risk of deportation, or potentially achieve a full dismissal of the charges. Acting swiftly to secure legal assistance is crucial for anyone in this situation, as it can significantly impact the outcome and potential immigration consequences.

What Strategies Can I Use To Contest NRS 200.310 Kidnapping Charges?

If faced with allegations under NRS 200.310, which outlines the crime of kidnapping in Nevada, there are several defenses that might be invoked. Here are three principal defense strategies that an attorney may consider in such cases:

1. Consent from the Adult “Victim”
The defense can argue that no kidnapping occurred if:

  • The alleged victim was at least 18 years old.
  • The individual purportedly gave consent willingly to go with you.
  • This consent was not acquired through threats, force, coercion, or deceit.

Evidence to support this defense could include text messages, emails, or other forms of communication between you and the alleged victim, testimonies from witnesses, or video footage that corroborates the consent narrative.

2. Lack of Intent
A crucial aspect of proving kidnapping is establishing the willfulness of the act. If the prosecution cannot demonstrate that you acted with a deliberate criminal intent to kidnap, charges may not hold up. It’s particularly relevant to distinguish:

  • If it is shown that there was no intent to inflict harm or extort ransom or reward with a first-degree kidnapping charge, it could potentially be downgraded to a second-degree charge, which carries lighter penalties.
  • In some cases, the prosecutor may agree to reduce kidnapping charges to the lesser offense of false imprisonment, which in the absence of significant aggravating factors is treated as a gross misdemeanor with penalties including up to 364 days in jail, and/or up to $2,000 in fines.

3. False Accusation
Cases of alleged kidnapping are sometimes rooted in false accusations, often arising from heated circumstances such as child custody battles or relationship conflicts. An effective defense strategy might include:

  • Providing evidence that demonstrates the accuser’s motif to fabricate the charges, such as text messages or emails.
  • Obtaining witness testimonies that discredit the accusations or show the accuser’s ulterior motives.
  • Presenting any exculpatory evidence that can establish an alibi or contradict the prosecution’s narrative.

In situations involving suspected child custody kidnapping, it may be advisable to retain legal counsel specializing in both family and criminal law to address the intertwined legal complexities.

Note on Jurisdiction
It’s important to recognize that even if the alleged kidnapping did not entirely occur within Nevada’s borders, the state could possess jurisdiction over the case if any part of the kidnapping transpired through or within the state.

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record for Kidnapping in Nevada?

In Nevada, the possibility of sealing a criminal record depends on the specifics of the kidnapping offense. If you have been convicted of kidnapping, particularly where a child was the victim and you were not the child’s parent or guardian, the record of that conviction is ineligible for sealing.

For other instances of first-degree kidnapping, the law permits a person to seek record sealing 10 years after the conclusion of the case, including the completion of any sentence, parole, or probation. Convictions for second-degree kidnapping become eligible for sealing records after a five-year waiting period following the case’s conclusion.

However, if you faced kidnapping charges that were eventually dismissed, you possess the immediate right to petition the court to seal those records without any waiting period.

For further legal assistance and to discuss your case with an expert, don’t hesitate to contact ATAC LAW.