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What Is The Maryland Difference Between Adult & Child Kidnapping?

Kidnap

Within the topic of violent crimes under Maryland law, kidnapping might not be the first offense that comes to mind. But as this offense usually involves forceful removal or detention, it is technically a violent crime. Furthermore, Maryland law has separate provisions to address kidnapping of both adult and child victims.

What is the Maryland Definition of Kidnapping?

Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-502 establishes the laws against kidnapping. Under this section, it is unlawful to:

  • Carry a victim, or cause a victim to be carried, within or outside of the state;
  • Use force or fraud to complete the act; and
  • Demonstrate an intent to have the victim carried or concealed within or outside of the state.

It is vital to note an exception under Section 3-502. This section does not apply to parents carrying their own minor child within or outside of Maryland.

As explained in more detail below, Maryland has separate laws and penalties to address child kidnapping.

How Does Maryland Punish Kidnapping?

Section 3-502 also provides the Maryland punishment for kidnapping. Under this section, kidnapping is a felony crime. Upon conviction, the punishment can include imprisonment for a maximum of 30 years.

What is the Maryland Definition of Child Kidnapping?

Maryland Code of Criminal Law Section 3-503 furnishes the laws against child abduction and kidnapping. There are three versions of child abduction without color of right under this section.

The first version of child abduction involves the forcible abduction, taking, or carrying away of a child under 12 years old from:

  • The child’s home or typical place of residence; or
  • The custody and control of the child’s parent or legal guardian.

The second version of child abduction requires persuasion or enticement, without consent from a parent or guardian, to remove a child under 12 years old from:

  • The child’s home or typical place of residence; or
  • The custody and control of the child’s parent or legal guardian.

The third version of child abduction requires an intent to deprive a parent or legal guardian of custody, care, or control of a child under 12 years old. This version of child abduction also requires the perpetrator to knowingly secrete or harbor the child in question.

This same code section also prohibits the kidnapping of any child under 16 years old. In these situations, it is illegal to use force or fraud to kidnap, steal, take, or carry away the child in question.

How Does Maryland Punish Child Kidnapping?

Section 3-503 also provides the Maryland punishment for child abduction and kidnapping. Under this section both offenses are a felony crime. But the punishment can fluctuate based on the circumstances of the offense.

When a violation of Section 3-503 involves the abduction of a child under 12 years old, the punishment can include imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years.

When a violation of Section 3-503 involves the kidnapping of a child under 16 years old, however, the punishment can include imprisonment for a maximum of 30 years; and under aggravated circumstances the punishment can be up to life without parole.

Do You Need Legal Help?

For help from a skilled Bel Air criminal lawyer, reach out to Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered. We are prepared to assist you today.

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