Vermont Kidnapping/Abduction Laws


According to Vermont law, 13 V.S.A. § 2405, a person commits the crime of kidnapping if the person knowingly restrains another person with the intent to:

  • hold the restrained person for ransom or reward; or
  • use the restrained person as a shield or hostage; or
  • inflict bodily injury upon the restrained person or place the restrained person or a third person in fear of bodily injury; or
  • sexually assault the restrained person or place the restrained person or a third person in fear that any person will be sexually assaulted; or
  • facilitate the commission of another crime or flight thereafter.

Statute,13 V.S.A. § 2405, further states that a person commits the crime of kidnapping if s/he not being a relative of a person under the age of 16 knowingly restrains that person with the intent to keep the person from his or her lawful custodian for a substantial period.  There should be criminal intention on the part of person committing the crime of kidnapping.  Criminal intent is an essential element of the crime of kidnapping.[i]

As per the statute, 13 V.S.A. § 2405, kidnapping is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or a fine of not more than $ 50,000.00, or both.  If the person committing the crime of kidnapping voluntarily releases the victim alive in a safe place before arraignment without causing serious bodily injury to the victim then the penalty is reduced to imprisonment for not more than 30 years or a fine of not more than $ 50,000.00, or both.

The Department of Public Safety is Vermont’s largest law enforcement agency.  The department’s statutory purpose is to promote the detection and prevention of crime, to participate in searches for lost and missing persons, and to assist in cases of statewide or local disasters or emergencies.  In order to carry out its purpose the department is organized into four divisions, the Vermont state police, Vermont emergency management, criminal justice services, and fire safety.

Department of Public Safety


[i] State v. Audette, 149 Vt. 218 (Vt. 1988)