Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Top 40 Under 40
AV Preeminent
The National Trial Lawyers
Top Once Percent
Best DWI Attorney 2017
10 Best Law Firm

New York Penal Law § 135.25 – Kidnapping in the First Degree

Skilled New York Criminal Defense Attorneys Dedicated to Advocating on Behalf of Clients Charged with Abduction Offenses

Kidnapping in the First Degree is a crime in New York that imposes harsh criminal penalties on those who abduct another person. The offense is a more serious version of Kidnapping in the Second Degree, as it imposes the additional requirement that the defendant either hold the victim for ransom or hold the victim for an extended period of time. Kidnapping in the First Degree is also charged where the victim dies before they are released. Kidnapping in the First Degree is a Class A-I felony and is a registerable sex offense in cases where the victim was under 17 and not the child of the defendant.

The Elements of Kidnapping in the First Degree

Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of Kidnapping in the First Degree, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

The elements of Kidnapping in the 1st Degree build upon the elements of the lesser-included offense of Kidnapping in the Second Degree, which are:

  1. The defendant restricted the movement of the victim, substantially interfering with their liberty, by either confining them to a location or moving them from one place to another;
  2. The defendant did so without the victim's consent;
  3. The defendant acted intentionally;
  4. The restriction of the victim's movement was unlawful, and the defendant knew that the restriction was unlawful; and
  5. The defendant either:
    1. held the victim in secret;
    2. held them in a place where they were not likely to be found; or
    3. used or threatened to use deadly physical force.

However, to prove Kidnapping in the First Degree, prosecutors must also establish one or more of the following:

  1. The defendant abducted the victim with the intent to demand a ransom;
  2. The victim died before they were safely returned; or
  3. The defendant held the victim for more than 12 hours with the intent to
    1. seriously injure or sexually abuse the victim,
    2. Commit another felony offense,
    3. Terrorize the victim or another third-party, or
    4. Interfere with a government or political function.

Under § 135.25, in certain situations, there is a presumption that an abducted person died, for example, if the victim isn't ever found.

Examples of Kidnapping in the First Degree

Examples of Kidnapping in the First Degree include the following:

  • A friend of the family abducts a child, holding them for ransom;
  • A man abducts his ex-girlfriend's child after the couple breaks up to "get back at her";
  • An activist kidnaps the child of a government official in hopes of preventing the official from carrying out their duties; or
  • A defendant abducts a person who is never found.
Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 135.25

Often, prosecutors bring Kidnapping in the First Degree charges along with one or more of the following:

  • Kidnapping in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 135.20
  • Luring a Child – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.70
  • Murder – N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25 or § 125.27
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.70
  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.67
  • Forcible Touching – NY Penal Law § 130.52
  • Sexual Misconduct – NY Penal Law § 130.20
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.50
  • Criminal Sexual Act in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 130.45
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 135.05
  • Unlawful Imprisonment in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 135.10
What Are the Defenses to Kidnapping in the First Degree?

While kidnapping is one of the most serious crimes in the New York Penal Law, there are several defenses that may reduce your sentencing exposure, result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you, or raise reasonable doubt that you committed the crime.

For example, under N.Y. Penal Law § 135.30, it is a valid defense to kidnapping charges if you are related to the alleged victim and your sole purpose was to assume control of the person.

In addition, there are several other defenses to Kidnapping in the First Degree, including the following:

  • You obtained the alleged victim's consent to restrain, confine or transport them;
  • You thought you had the alleged victim's consent;
  • The alleged victim was not actually restrained, confined or moved; and
  • The allegations were fabricated or exaggerated by the alleged victim or their parent or guardian.

There are also specific defenses that may apply based on the subsection you've been charged under. For example, it may be a defense if the alleged victim wasn't held for a period of more than 12 hours. Similarly, an experienced NY criminal defense attorney may be able to cast doubt on the prosecution's claims that you had the intent to injure or sexually assault the victim.

What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 135.25?

Kidnapping in the First Degree is a Class A-I felony. In New York, Class A-I felony offenses are punishable by a term of between 15 to 40 years in prison, with 15 years being the mandatory minimum. Additionally, a conviction for Kidnapping in the First Degree results in a fine of up to $100,000, and if the victim was under 17 and not your child, you will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Serious Charges Require Serious Representation

If you've been charged with Kidnapping in the First Degree, it's hard to imagine a more serious situation. If you're convicted, you could very well spend the rest of your life behind bars. However, that doesn't need to be the case. At the law firm of Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated team of New York criminal defense lawyers has more than 25 years of experience aggressively defending the rights and freedoms of our clients. We take a comprehensive approach to every case, identifying every possible defense before developing a strategy designed to minimize the impact your arrest has on the rest of your life. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

Client Reviews
"Thank you again for discussing my case with today. I can not stress enough how impressed I am with your services as an attorney. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty to attempt to help me. Thank you again and best wishes." Rob
"I am writing to send you my heartfelt thanks for your work on my father’s case. You are a wonderful attorney. I was very impressed by you from our first meeting. I am so grateful we were referred to you." Joanna
"I wanted to first say thank you for everything you have done for me in the last several months. You made this very difficult ordeal in my life less stressful and easier to bear. I am grateful for having you as my attorney and I truly feel that you helped me above my expectations. I appreciate everything." W.S.