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Kidnapping Defense

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced kidnapping defense lawyers. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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(614) 444-1900

Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Columbus, OH

Kidnapping is a felony, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2905.01. If you are convicted of kidnapping, you could spend many years in prison. Even when you are released from your sentence, you still carry the stigma of being labeled a felon. You may lose your right to vote, apply for jobs, or carry a firearm.

Joslyn Law Firm has handled 20,000 criminal cases and is considered an authority on criminal defense by many fine organizations, with such honors as:

  • Top 25 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization composed of trial lawyers from each state or region.
  • Top American Lawyer by the Top American Lawyers association.
  • Ten Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys who award excellence in the field of criminal defense.
  • Top 10 Attorneys by the American Jurist Institute, a third-party consumer-driven organization.
  • Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO

We Will Fight for the Best Possible Outcome for You

A kidnapping charge is life-changing for you and your loved ones. It may not matter to the police or the prosecution if you are being falsely accused or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, that is all that matters to Joslyn Law Firm.

Attorney Brian Joslyn understands how circumstances and simple misunderstandings often become blown out of proportion in the criminal justice system. He was the victim of police brutality and false arrest as a teen and has since dedicated his life to helping others who are trapped in similar situations.

A kidnapping charge can follow you around for the rest of your life, affecting you negatively, making it difficult to succeed in many areas. It may be possible to get your name cleared or to have your charges reduced, however.

A kidnapping defense lawyer in Columbus, OH, will protect your rights and provide you with a realistic expectation of the charges against you. You have the right to a vigorous defense, and our firm is here to support you during this challenging time

As a valued client:

  • Your case will be assigned to an attorney who has a deep understanding of the charges against you and will be by your side throughout.
  • You will be kept informed about your case at every stage.
  • You will be treated with the respect and compassion that you deserve.
  • You will have the peace of mind from knowing that our entire award-winning firm is on your side, with tremendous resources available for your defense.

Past results do not guarantee future outcomes but hiring a kidnapping criminal defense lawyer ensures that your rights are protected and defended. You are in good hands when you select a kidnapping defense attorney with Joslyn Law Firm. For a free consultation, call (614) 444-1900.

Kidnapping Defense Information Center/Table of Contents


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Overview of Kidnapping Charges in Ohio

Kidnapping is the taking of someone against their will to a different location or restraining their liberty. Kidnapping is a felony crime in Ohio.

You may be convicted of kidnapping if you take another person by force, threat, deception, or coercion for the purpose of:

  • Money (ransom)
  • Hostage or human shield to avoid or deflect arrest
  • Harming a child under age 13 or a cognitively impaired adult
  • Committing another crime
  • Inflicting physical harm
  • Committing sexual assault
  • Obstructing a governmental function
  • Involuntary servitude

Prosecutors may charge an individual with kidnapping if that person restrains someone’s liberty by threatening them with a gun, knife, or other weapon (such as telling a victim to stay still while robbing them).

The Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction

Kidnapping and abduction are both felonies under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2905. However, kidnapping is considered the more serious charge because it involves extortion, either for money or for protection of the perpetrator (hostage or human shield).

Sometimes it is possible to negotiate from a felony kidnapping charge to a lesser charge. That is why you are invited to talk to a kidnapping criminal defense lawyer about your case.

What to Do if You Are Arrested on a Kidnapping Charge

Here are some suggestions from our criminal defense team if you are arrested on a charge of kidnapping:

  • Do not resist arrest.
  • Do not argue or protest your innocence to the arresting officers – there will be time for you to defend yourself.
  • Tell the officers that you are invoking your constitutional right to remain silent and that you will not answer any questions or make any statements until a lawyer is present.
  • Remain as calm as possible by taking deep breaths.

Call the office of a kidnapping defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, as soon as you are allowed to make a phone call.


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Penalties for Kidnapping

If you are arrested on kidnapping charges, you could be charged with either a felony of the first degree (F-1) or a felony of the second degree (F-2).

There are a few factors that influence which felony charge you could receive, including:

  • If there is evidence of sexual assault
  • If the victim was severely beaten or injured
  • If the victim was younger than age 13 or declared mentally incompetent
  • If there are additional crimes committed in conjunction with the kidnapping, such as rape, arson, forgery, or robbery
  • If you are a repeat offender

The Ohio Revised Code § 2929.14 defines F-1 and F-2 penalties as follows:

Penalties F-1Penalties F-2
Three to 11 years in prisonTwo to eight years in prison
Fines not to exceed $20,000Fines not to exceed $15,000

Additional Penalties for Kidnapping Conviction

In addition to imprisonment and fines, a kidnapping conviction has lifelong consequences for you and your loved ones. Obviously, you will not be able to work at your current job if you are in prison. This creates a financial hardship for your dependents. You will also have to make guardian arrangements for your children or find another caregiver if you have an elderly or disabled person in your care.

Even when you are released from prison, you will probably be on community control (probation) for at least a year. You will need to check in with your parole officer, find gainful employment, consent to drug tests, and sever all ties with former criminal associates.

As a former offender, you may be prevented from:

  • Voting
  • Serving on a jury
  • Running for public office
  • Owning a firearm
  • Joining the military
  • Obtaining some student loans
  • Securing certain professional licenses
  • Becoming a citizen (or facing other immigration issues)
  • Gaining sole custody or enjoying unsupervised visits with your children

A felony label is a huge burden on your financial, emotional, professional, and social well-being. A kidnapping defense lawyer will do everything possible to vigorously defend you with the intent of reducing or dropping the charges or getting a not guilty verdict in a trial.


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Evidence in a Kidnapping Case

The burden of proof in a kidnapping case is on the prosecution to convince a jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the prosecutor will want to include as much evidence, testimony, and documentation as proof.

Here are a few examples of evidence that might be used in a kidnapping trial:

  • Biological evidence including DNA, blood, saliva, semen, hair, teeth, and fingernails
  • Physical evidence, including clothing, ropes, handcuffs, and other implements or items
  • Guns, knives, tasers, and other weapons
  • Photos of all crime scenes, including the first and secondary location, if different
  • Witness statements
  • Victim’s statement
  • Police reports
  • Medical tests showing injury (e.g., broken bones on the victim)
  • Computer hard drives, GPS information, thumb drives, texts, voicemail, email, social media posts, and other digital or electronic evidence
  • Video or audio recordings
  • Proof of life recordings or documentation

Can the Prosecution Force You to Testify?

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects you from self-incrimination. You have the right to remain silent during and after your arrest. You may also decline to testify in your own defense. If you decline to take the stand, the prosecution may not force you to testify against yourself.

You and your attorney should discuss the potential benefits and liabilities of testifying in your own case.


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Defending Against Kidnapping Charges in Columbus

A kidnapping defense attorney can create a custom strategy for the best possible outcome. This will include a strong defense but also a legitimate offense.

For example, a defense attorney can present subject matter experts to deflect or cast doubt on those called by the prosecution. A kidnapping defense lawyer can also call witnesses to support your alibi or to suggest another individual is the actual perpetrator.

Pleading Guilty to a Lesser Charge

A criminal trial attorney with Joslyn Law Firm may try to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. It is possible that you could avoid a lengthy prison term by pleading guilty to a less serious offense, including:

  • Abduction, felony in the second degree
  • Unlawful restraint, misdemeanor in the third degree
  • Coercion, misdemeanor in the second degree

A lawyer from our firm will also try to have the charges against you dismissed by looking for errors or irregularities.

Potential Defenses for Kidnapping Cases

Our legal team investigates your case looking for potential evidence or scenarios that can be used in your defense, including:

  • False allegations – You are falsely accused by an individual who has a motive to frame you.
  • Mistaken identity –The police arrested the wrong person.
  • Improper arrest or sentencing – The police failed to read you your rights, did not have a proper search warrant, or acted in such a manner that your arrest is invalid or improper.
  • Errors in evidence – It is possible to have evidence suppressed if your lawyer can show it was improperly collected, contaminated, or the result of an illegal search and seizure.
  • Establish an alibi – Your defense case may depend on establishing that you were elsewhere when the crime was being committed.
  • Duress – You could use duress as a defense if you were being forced to commit kidnapping or assist another person in the kidnapping through threats or fear for your life.
  • Diminished capacity – It is possible that someone may commit a crime due to diminished mental capacity caused by illness, addiction, or reduced cognitive ability.

A kidnapping lawyer with Joslyn Law Firm will do everything possible to keep you from being convicted, serving time, or losing certain civil rights.

Potential Break for First-Time Offense

You may be charged with a lesser crime, have your charges dropped, or avoid imprisonment altogether if this is your first offense.

There are a few actions that your lawyer may recommend, such as:

  • Show genuine remorse and regret.
  • Offer restitution to the victim.
  • Volunteer for alcohol or drug abuse counseling or treatment if alcohol or drugs played a role in your alleged actions.
  • Obtain character witnesses who will vouch for your integrity and previously spotless conduct.

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Kidnapping Defense Resources


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Kidnapping News in Ohio

Officials: Ohio Man Trying to Abduct 12-year-old Wisconsin Girl Arrested after Truck Gets Stuck in Snow

A news story from CBS affiliate WDJT Channel 58 in Milwaukee about a 22-year-old Ohio man arrested in an abduction of a child after the suspect’s truck became stuck in a homeowner’s snowy driveway. The homeowner called the police, who arrested the Uniontown man after the girl broke free and ran away from the vehicle.

Two Boys Abducted from Hotel in Jackson Township Found Safe, Unharmed

An infant and a 2-year-old toddler were found safe and unharmed after being abducted from a hotel room in Jackson Township, Ohio. ABC News Channel 5 in Cleveland reported that the children’s alleged abductor was a 27-year old male described by police as armed and dangerous.

Child Recovered, Suspect in Custody from Kidnapping, Assault in Madison Township

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 50-year-old man on kidnapping and assault charges involving a 1-year-old boy. WDTN-Channel 2 News reported that the baby was taken after a domestic violence incident involving the suspect and the victim’s mother.

Feds Arrest Suspect in Kidnapping of Ohio Woman, but Victim Still Missing

According to the website Cleveland.com, federal law enforcement agents arrested a 43-year-old Mansfield man for allegedly kidnapping his former girlfriend, Melinda Kay Davis. The 33-year old Shelby resident is still missing, and police are asking the public for any information to her whereabouts.


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FAQs for Kidnapping Defense

What possible defenses could be used against a kidnapping charge?

Possible defenses that can be used against a kidnapping charge include improper arrest, evidentiary errors, mistaken identity, or false accusations.

If money is not exchanged, could you still be arrested on a kidnapping charge?

You may still be arrested on kidnapping charges, even if there was no ransom paid or collected in exchange for the return of a victim.

What is the difference between kidnapping and abduction?

Kidnapping is the taking of another person from one place to another location or restraining someone’s liberty in exchange for something. The presence of extortion is what makes kidnapping different from abduction. Abduction is considered the lesser charge.

Will I go to prison and pay a fine for a kidnapping charge?

Kidnapping is a felony that may be in the first or second degree, depending on the specifics of your case. First-degree felonies in Ohio carry a prison sentence of up to 11 years and a maximum fine of $20,000. Second-degree felonies carry a prison sentence maximum of eight years and fines not to exceed $15,000.

How can I avoid going to prison for kidnapping?

You could avoid prison time if the charges against you are reduced to a lesser charge that includes probation instead of imprisonment, or if the charges against you are dismissed.


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A Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Columbus is Prepared to Help

Kidnapping charges are serious and demand immediate attention. If you are arrested in a kidnapping incident, call the office of a kidnapping defense lawyer in Columbus, OH, at (614) 444-1900.

Joslyn Law Firm is committed to helping people who are entangled in the criminal justice system. We are ready to fight for your life, your freedom, and your rights.


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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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