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Classification as Misdemeanors or Felonies

While kidnapping at common law was classified as a misdemeanor, almost every jurisdiction now lists it as a felony.  Kidnapping statutes recognize different types and levels of kidnapping.  These statutes classify types of  kidnapping as either a felony or misdemeanor and assign punishment accordingly. For example,   New York has both a first degree and second degree kidnapping statute.  First-degree kidnapping occurs when a person abducts another person to obtain or when the abduction lasts for more than 12 hours and the abductor intends to injure the victim; to accomplish or advance the commission of a felony; to terrorize the victim or a third person; or to interfere with a governmental or political function.  An abduction that results in death is also first-degree kidnapping.  First-degree kidnapping in New York State is a class A-1 felony, which carries a sentence of at least 20 years in prison (§ 70.00).  Second-degree kidnapping lacks the aggravating circumstances of first-degree kidnapping, and it is ranked as a class B felony.

Inside Classification as Misdemeanors or Felonies