Federal Kidnapping in Florida

Essentially, Kidnapping comes under Federal jurisdiction when the kidnapping takes place across state lines, uses the facilities of interstate commerce, or more seriously, occurs internationally. Given that, the kidnapping may apply even if the physical kidnapping occurred with the borders of a single state. 

Known as the Lindbergh Act, the Federal Kidnapping Statute was revised to allow federal authorities to have jurisdiction when a kidnapper went outside of the state and local jurisdictions or used the channels of interstate commerce to commit a kidnapping.

There are many scenarios that may implicate the federal government but may have simply been misunderstandings, such as fleeing an abusive spouse or mistaken custody that implicates federal kidnapping law based on a misunderstanding.

Moreover, with Florida being an international border and an international port, federal law enforcement agents are on high alert for potential kidnapping cases. Therefore, understanding your rights under a federal kidnapping charge is imperative. 

Attorney for Federal Kidnapping in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group have been successfully fighting for the rights of criminal defendants in Federal cases for years.

We are known for aggressively defending our clients' rights and advocating to have their charges dropped. Our attorneys take cases in Broward County, FL, and in the surrounding counties including Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, Hendry County, and Collier County, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 for more information and to set up a non-obligations consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

With offices centrally located in Downtown Fort. Lauderdale, just minutes from the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, we take federal cases throughout Florida in cities like Miami, East Naples, LaBelle, and West Palm Beach, FL.


Overview of Federal Kidnapping Offenses in Broward County


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Elements of Federal Kidnapping under 18 U.S.C. § 1201

In order for the federal government to be implicated in a kidnapping case in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1201, the Government must show the following:

  • that the person unlawfully
    • seized,
    • confined,
    • decoyed,
    • inveigled,
    • kidnapped,
    • abducted, or
    • carried away, and
  • the defendant held for ransom or reward or otherwise any person when
    • the person was willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary; or
    • the offender traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or
    • the offender used the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense;
  • if the offender committed any such act against the person using the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
  • if the offender committed any such act against the person within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; or
  • if the victim is a foreign official, an internationally protected person, or an official guest as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1116(b); or
  • the person was among those officers and employees outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 1114 and any such act against the person is done while the person is engaged in, or on account of, the performance of official duties.

If an individual is found guilty of federal kidnapping, then he or she could face up to life in prison. If the victim dies, then the individual may be punished by death or life imprisonment.


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Special Rules for Kidnapping Children under 18 U.S.C. § 1201

The Federal law has enhanced penalties for kidnapping offenses that involve children. Under Subsection (g), the following applies:

  • if the victim is under thirteen (13) years of age; and
  • the offender has attained such age; and
  • the offender is not any of the following:
    • a parent;
    • a grandparent;
    • a brother or sister;
    • an aunt or uncle; or
    • an individual having legal custody of the victim

If the Government finds that the above subsection applies, then the defendant must serve a mandatory minimum of twenty (20) years in Federal prison.


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International Parental Kidnapping under 18 U.S.C. § 1204

The Parental Kidnapping statute makes it a crime for a parent to remove or attempt to remove their child from the United States borders or remain outside of U.S. borders in opposition to another parent's custodial rights.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1204 any parent who removes their child from the Country unlawfully may be subject to federal prosecution. If convicted, the parent could face up to three (3) years in federal prison and additional fines.


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Federal Kidnapping Versus Florida Kidnapping

In Florida, kidnapping is charged under § 787.01 Fla. Stat. The elements that need to be satisfied in order to be convicted of Florida State kidnapping are similar in nature to those under the Federal law.

The federal law, however, is not implicated unless the offender uses the streams or facilities of interstate commerce or kidnaps a protected individual or guest.

It is possible to face both Federal and State (of Florida) charges for kidnapping. If you or someone you know is under investigation for federal or state kidnapping charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.


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Additional Resources

Florida Statute 787.01 Kidnapping – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature to find the complete statutory language of the Florida Kidnapping statute, including the elements of aggravated kidnapping and the penalties for both offenses.

Federal Kidnapping Manual –Visit the official website of United States Department of Justice for more information on the elements of federal kidnapping, including the kinds of activities that bring a crime under federal jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C § 1204.


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Attorney for Federal Kidnapping in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group have been successfully fighting for the rights of criminal defendants in Federal cases for years.

We are known for aggressively defending our clients' rights and advocating to have their charges dropped. Our attorneys take cases in Broward County, FL, and in the surrounding counties including Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, Hendry County, and Collier County, FL.

Call (954) 500-5555 for more information and to set up a non-obligations consultation with one of our attorneys.

With offices centrally located in Downtown Fort. Lauderdale, just minutes from the U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse, we take federal cases throughout Florida in cities like Miami, East Naples, LaBelle, and West Palm Beach, FL


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