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Definition and penalties for kidnapping in Minnesota

In Minnesota, kidnapping is defined as confining a person or taking a person from one place to another without the consent of that person for one or more of four reasons. Those reasons are to hold that person as a hostage or for ransom, to terrify or harm the person, to assist in an escape or to keep a person in involuntary servitude.

If a person is younger than 16, the person's parent or legal guardian must consent to a person being moved or confined or the act will also be considered kidnapping. Kidnapping a person younger than 16 may carry increased penalties. The penalty for causing harm to the person kidnapped or for failing to release the kidnapped person somewhere safe may include up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Releasing the person unharmed and in a safe place may result in lighter penalties as long is the person is 16 or older. However, the penalty is still serious. It may be up to 20 years in prison or a fine of up to $35,000.

A person who is facing serious federal charges such as kidnapping may want to talk to an attorney about what the defense will be. This defense will depend upon the circumstances and the evidence. For example, a person might claim to be have been held unlawfully, but the defendant could dispute this version of events, and there may be little evidence to support it. It might be possible to discredit eyewitness accounts as these can often be unreliable. In other cases, a person may decide to not go to trial and work out a plea deal with the prosecution instead. In a serious case like kidnapping, the charges against the person and the penalty might be significantly reduced.

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