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Penal Code 208(b) PC - Kidnapping a Minor Under 14 

California Penal Code 208(b) PC makes it a crime to kidnap a minor child under the age of 14, which is considered aggravated kidnapping, a felony punishable by up to eleven years in state prison if convicted.

This statute does not apply to the taking, detaining, or concealing of a minor by a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or someone to whom a court order granted access to the minor child as defined under the Family Code.

California Penal Code 208(b) PC - Kidnapping a Minor Under 14 
Penal Code 208(b) PC defines the felony crime of kidnapping a minor under the age of 14.

PC 208 says, “(a) Kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for three, five, or eight years.

(b) If the person kidnapped is under 14 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, the kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 8, or 11 years

This subdivision is not applicable to the taking, detaining, or concealing of a minor child by a biological parent, a natural father, as specified in Section 7611 of the Family Code, an adoptive parent, or a person who has been granted access to the minor child by a court order.

(c) In all cases in which probation is granted, the court shall, except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would best be served by a lesser penalty, require as a condition of the probation that the person be confined in the county jail for 12 months

If the court grants probation without requiring the defendant to be confined in the county jail for 12 months, it shall specify its reason or reasons for imposing a lesser penalty.”

What Is Kidnapping?

California Penal Code 207 defines kidnapping as taking or detaining someone against their will and moving them a significant distance by force or fear, including physically moving them or threatening them with harm if they do not comply. 

However, suppose the kidnapping victim is under the age of 14. In that case, the definition of kidnapping is extended to include anyone who "hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like" if the intent is to commit a lewd or lascivious act with the minor defined under Penal Code 288 PC.

Under Penal Code 208(b) PC, you could be charged with kidnapping a minor under 14 if the following factors apply:

  • The victim is under the age of 14.
  • You used force or threats to detain and remove the minor.
  • You move the minor significant distance or
  • You enticed or persuaded the minor to go with you through deception with the intent of sexually molesting them.

Force or fear” means that you either inflicted physical force upon the minor or that you threatened to inflict imminent physical harm on them. 

Suppose a man makes friends with a 12-year-old girl at a local public park and persuades her to come to his car in the parking lot to give her a new toy. Instead, he forces the girl into his car and drives away with the intent to commit lewd acts on her. In that case, he could be charged with Penal Code 208(b) kidnapping a minor under 14, along with other serious crimes.

PC 208(b) does not apply to you if you are the minor's biological parent, legal adoptive parent, or legal guardian. In other words, you are not guilty of kidnapping if you forcibly detain and move a minor for whom you are legally responsible in a parental way but could face other charges.

What is the PC 208(b) Punishments? 

Kidnapping a minor under 14 is a felony that carries harsher penalties than a standard kidnapping conviction, including the following.

  • If the victim is 14 or older, the penalties include three, five, or eight years in state prison, depending on the case details.
  • If the victim is under 14, the penalties are increased to five, eight, or 11 years in state prison. 

If the judge grants formal felony probation, you would still be required to serve one year in county jail as a condition of your probation. Additional penalties might include restitution to the victim, hefty fines, and restraining orders. Non-citizens could be deported or denied entry into the United States.

What Are the Related Crimes?

Several California crimes are related to Penal Code 208b kidnapping a minor under 14, as discussed below. 

Penal Code 207 PC kidnapping. This is considered “simple kidnapping” that involves moving a victim a substantial distance, using force or fear to do so. “Force or fear” means the defendant inflicted physical force on the victim or threatened to inflict imminent bodily harm. A PC 207 conviction carries up to eight years in state prison.

California Penal Code 207 PC kidnapping

PC 207(b) says, “Every person who, for the purpose of committing any act defined in Section 288, hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises, misrepresentations, or the like, any child under the age of 14 years to go out of this country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.”

Penal Code 209 PC aggravated kidnapping. This is a more severe felony charge than PC 207, a simple kidnapping, and it carries a sentence of life in prison. Aggravated kidnapping is a crime done for ransom or reward or to commit another crime such as rape.

PC 209(b)(1) says, “A person who kidnaps or carries away an individual to commit robbery, rape, oral copulation, sodomy, or any violation of Section 264.1, 288, 289, or former Section 262, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.

Penal Code 236 PC false imprisonment. This crime is unlawfully restraining, detaining, or confining someone against their will. It's a wobble that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

What Are the PC 208(b) Defenses? 

Suppose you were charged with Penal Code 208(b) PC kidnapping a minor under the age of 14. In that case, our California sex crime lawyers might be able to utilize different strategies, such as the following: 

  • Not a kidnapping,
  • Lack of intent,
  • No probable cause,
  • False allegation
  • Alibi defense,
  • Police misconduct,
  • Coerced confession,
  • Statute of limitations.

Maybe we can argue that your behavior did not rise to the level of a kidnapping offense. Perhaps you did use force or threats to convince the child to go with you. 

Perhaps we can argue there was no intent to molest them or hold them for a ransom, but you could still be charged under other statutes. Maybe you were the minor's legal custodian and had a legal right to remove them for their protection. 

Perhaps we can argue that you are the victim of a false allegation. Maybe you mistakenly identified, or the accuser had malicious intent. If successful, we might be able to get the charges dismissed. Contact us for more information. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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