If you are convicted of aggravated kidnapping in Utah, you may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In addition to facing years or decades in prison, you will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You can also be fined thousands of dollars and will be permanently burdened with a felony record.
When facing such dire consequences, it is vital to protect yourself by retaining the services of a proven and experienced aggravated kidnapping lawyer in Salt Lake City. To set up a free legal consultation with a criminal attorney for kidnapping charges, contact Overson Law, PLLC online, or call our law offices right away at (801) 758-2287. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Utah Aggravated Kidnapping Law
Aggravated kidnapping is illegal under Utah Code § 76-5-302. This statute sets forth the definition of aggravated kidnapping, the facts a prosecutor must prove, and the penalties that can be imposed if the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty.
Utah Code § 76-5-302 defines aggravated kidnapping as the offense of either kidnapping (76-5-301) or unlawful detention (76-5-304) plus certain elements. These elements are that:
- The defendant either used or threatened to use a weapon, such as a knife or gun
- The defendant’s intent was to do any of the following:
- To commit any sex crime, including rape (76-5-402), sexual abuse of a child (76-5-404.1), or aggravated sexual assault (76-5-405)
- To delay or prevent a felony offense from being reported
- To disrupt or delay any sort of political actions or events
- To “hold the victim for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage”
- To injure the victim, or to terrorize the victim or a third person, such as the victim’s parents or spouse
- To make it easier to commit a felony, attempt a felony, or flee from the scene of a felony
Is Aggravated Kidnapping a Felony in Utah?
Like most states, Utah separates criminal offenses into misdemeanor and felony categories. There are three types of misdemeanors (Class C, Class B, Class A) and three types of felonies (third degree, second degree, first degree). The lower the number of the “degree,” the more serious the crime – and the greater the penalties which can result.
In Utah, aggravated kidnapping is a generally a third degree felony. However, there are also situations where the offense can be graded as a first degree felony, exposing the defendant to even more serious consequences.
Any type of felony conviction will give the defendant a criminal record, which can cause issues with employment, housing, lending, military service, international travel, voting, and gun ownership. In addition, any person who is convicted of aggravated kidnapping in Utah must register as a sex offender for life. Registered sex offenders are required to abide by strict rules and restrictions, such as avoiding certain environments (such as parks or playgrounds), participating in therapy, and obeying curfews.
Aggravated Kidnapping Penalty in Utah
As stated above, aggravated kidnapping may be treated as either a first degree felony or third degree felony in Utah, depending on the specifics of the case. If the defendant seriously injured the victim or had prior sex crime convictions when the offense was allegedly committed, aggravated kidnapping may be charged as a felony of the first degree. If the offense was committed “in the course of committing unlawful detention,” it is a felony of the third degree. Unlawful detention, a crime defined at Utah Code § 76-5-304, involves unlawfully restraining someone against their will under circumstances that fall short of kidnapping.
The criminal penalties for a third degree felony in Utah include up to five years in prison and maximum fines of $5,000. When aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony, the prison sentence may range anywhere from six years to life without parole, or without the possibility of early release, depending on the circumstances. In other situations, judges are required to impose a minimum sentence of at least 15 years in prison. However, different penalties may apply if the defendant was a juvenile, meaning age 17 or younger, when he or she committed the offense.
In addition to being fined and imprisoned, convicted offenders may also be required to pay restitution to the victims. Furthermore, lifetime registration as a sex offender is mandatory.
Salt Lake City Aggravated Kidnapping Defense Attorney
You cannot afford to waste a moment if you have been arrested for or charged with aggravated kidnapping in Utah. You urgently need an aggressive criminal lawyer with a track record of obtaining favorable outcomes in challenging, complex felony cases. Attorney Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience representing juveniles and adults charged with kidnapping and related offenses in Salt Lake City and throughout the state of Utah. To discuss a felony charge or investigation confidentially in a free legal consultation with an aggravated kidnapping attorney, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287, or contact our law offices online.