Kidnapping and unlawful restraint are different but related criminal offenses under Pennsylvania law. Both can be charged under a broad range of circumstances, and both carry the potential for substantial penalties, including long-term imprisonment. If you have been arrested and charged with kidnapping or unlawful restraint, you need to determine what evidence the government has against you as soon as possible, and you need to execute an aggressive defense strategy focused on the unique facts of your case.
In many cases, kidnapping and unlawful restraint cases involve false and unsubstantiated allegations from family members. If your case involves challenging family circumstances, including allegations that you kidnapped or unlawfully restrained your own child, you will need to tailor your defense strategy to the particular facts involved. Our Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys have represented defendants in kidnapping and unlawful restraint cases involving a broad range of allegations, and we can use our experience to help protect your freedom, your finances, and, if necessary, your right to spend time with your children.
Kidnapping vs. Unlawful Restraint
One of the primary differences between kidnapping and unlawful restraint under Pennsylvania law has to do with where the defendant held the alleged victim. In order to be guilty of kidnapping, a person must move the victim, “a substantial distance under the circumstances from the place where he is found,” or else hold the victim, “for a substantial period in a place of isolation.” In contrast, the crime of unlawful restraint typically involves allegations that the defendant retrained the victim, “in circumstances exposing him [or her] to risk of serious bodily injury.”
While it is generally easier for prosecutors to prove allegations of unlawful restraint than it is for them to prove allegations of kidnapping, both types of charges are subject to numerous defenses. From challenging any physical evidence of the alleged offense to challenging the veracity of witnesses’ testimony or the arresting officer’s conduct during or after your arrest, our attorneys will aggressively assert all available defenses on your behalf. Regardless of the circumstances involved, you should never assume that you will be found guilty at trial, and you need to do everything possible to reduce your chances of a conviction.
In all cases, kidnapping is classified as a first-degree felony. This means that it carries the potential for a 20-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine. Depending upon the circumstances involved, unlawful restraint can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree felony with sentences ranging from five to 10 years of imprisonment and $10,000 to $25,000 in fines.
Aggressive Defense Attorneys for Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint Cases in Pittsburgh, PA
Do not let false allegations ruin your life. Do not let one simple mistake decide your future. If you have been accused of kidnapping or unlawful restraint, the stakes are high, and you need to handle your case accordingly. Our defense attorneys are tenacious advocates who have a proven record of success in Pennsylvania’s criminal courts, and we are prepared to do what it takes to protect you. To get started with a free and confidential consultation, call (412) 520-3301 or contact us online now.