Although most people think of nefarious strangers abducting a child when they imagine an Oklahoma kidnapping charge, the reality is much more complex. Kidnapping charges often involve non-custodial parents taking a child without permission—or fights between spouses where one spouse was prevented from leaving the area.
How Oklahoma Law Defines Kidnapping
Under Oklahoma statute § 21-741, kidnapping refers to a person’s unlawful abduction, confinement, or restraint. The law states:
Any person who, without lawful authority, seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away another, with intent, either: 1) To cause such other person to be confined or imprisoned in this state against the will of the other person, 2) To cause such other person to be sent out of this state against the will of the other person, or 3) To cause such person to be sold as a slave, or in any way held to service against the will of such person shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term not exceeding 20 years.
The relationship between the offender and the victim can take any form. Legally, it does not matter if the victim is your spouse, child, friend, or an unknown person.
Kidnapping is often an add-on charge when there is an incident of domestic violence. For example, you might have been in a heated argument with your spouse when you lost your temper and pushed or shoved your partner. If you also stood in the doorway to prevent them from leaving the room, you could be facing a kidnapping charge as well as a domestic assault and battery charge. It does not matter if the incident occurred in your own home or if you only wanted them to stay until they agreed to listen to your side of the story.
Kidnapping doesn’t necessarily need to involve physical violence. Under the right circumstances, taking your spouse’s car keys, withholding their valuables, or threatening to harm your children could be seen as causing your spouse to be confined against their will.
It’s also important to realize that there is no minimum time required for confinement or restraint to make a kidnapping charge applicable to the situation. Even if you quickly calmed down and allowed your spouse to leave after you said what you needed to get off your chest, it could still legally be considered kidnapping.
Kidnapping is considered a felony under Oklahoma law, with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. However, kidnapping charges related to domestic violence generally do not present the fact pattern to warrant the maximum sentence.
Defining Against a Kidnapping Charge in Oklahoma
If you’ve been charged with kidnapping—even if you believe the incident was a simple misunderstanding between you and your spouse—you need to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not take chances when your freedom and your future are at stake.
To defend against a kidnapping charge, you must be able to prove one or more of the following:
- You did not act unlawfully.
- You did not act with intent.
- You did not act against the will of the victim.
Prosecutors will frequently overcharge defendants to scare them into pleading guilty to a lesser crime. While a plea bargain may be the appropriate course of action for your case, you should not agree to anything until you’ve had all options evaluated by a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will evaluate the evidence against you and determine the strength of the case to determine how to best achieve a favorable outcome.
At Berlin Defense, we are committed to providing aggressive representation for Oklahoma residents accused of violent crimes such as kidnapping—placing a special emphasis on crimes involving domestic violence or elements of coercive control in intimate partner relationships. The Berlin Defense System is a proprietary approach based on my two decades of experience defending clients accused of sex crimes, murder, firearms charges, drug offenses, and other serious crimes in Oklahoma. The steps are tailored to fit the unique circumstances of each case and have been shown to produce successful results again and again.
Have You Been Charged With a Violent Crime in the Tulsa, OK Area?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call 918.384.0850 for your initial strategy session. We are proud to serve Tulsa and all surrounding areas.