Degrees of Kidnapping


There are different degrees of kidnapping.  The most common are first-degree kidnapping and second degree kidnapping.  These degrees are classifed differently from state to state but are generally based on severity or harm to the victim.  In some jurisdictions, if the person kidnapped either was not released by the defendant in a safe place or had been seriously injured or sexually assaulted, the offense is kidnapping in the first degree.  However, if the person kidnapped was released in a safe place by the defendant and had not been seriously injured or sexually assaulted, the offense is kidnapping in the second degree.  While the federal kidnapping law, commonly known as the Lindbergh Law,  does not separate kidnapping into degrees of severity, Federal Sentencing Guidelines instruct a greater sentence based on the harm to the victim, or where a gun was used in the kidnapping.