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Attorney Carrie Wilcox

The intersection between domestic violence and kidnapping

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Orders Of Protection

You and your ex-spouse haven’t been getting along for a while, and an argument recently spun out of control. You ended up arrested for domestic violence — and suddenly found yourself facing additional charges of kidnapping.

What happened? How does a marital spat — escalated or not — evolve into a kidnapping charge?

“Kidnapping” doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means

When most people hear the word “kidnapping,” they usually think about someone being forced into a car by a stranger and held for ransom — or worse. Under the law, however, kidnapping is much more broadly defined. It can include any situation where one person “unlawfully removes another” from one place to the next or “unlawfully confines another” for numerous reasons.

In other words, kidnapping can include some nebulous situations, like:

  • Storming out of the house to cool down after a fight, your child in tow — despite the fact that your ex-spouse has custody and didn’t give permission for you to take your child with you.
  • Blocking your ex-spouse from leaving during your fight and refusing to let them use their phone because you’re determined to hash out the problem right then.
  • Refusing to slow the car down (and even speeding up) to let your ex-spouse out when they demanded because you thought they were being childish.

It doesn’t matter if you eventually brought your son back (just as you said you would) or gave up and let your ex-spouse leave the house or car as they wanted, you could still be facing a charge that could put you behind bars for years.

Get help when a domestic situation escalates into more serious charges

You shouldn’t try to handle a domestic violence charge on your own. This is especially true when the charges have been elevated into something more. Take immediate steps to protect your future and your freedom.