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California Kidnapping/Abduction Laws

According to Cal Pen Code § 207, a person is guilty of kidnapping when s/he

  • forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, holds or carries another into another place;
  • for the purpose of committing any offense hires, persuades, entices, decoys, or seduces by false promises or misrepresentations, any child under the age of 14 years to go out of the country, state, or county, or into another part of the same county;
  • forcibly, or by any other means of instilling fear, takes or holds, detains, or arrests any person, with a design to take the person out of California, with the intent to sell that person into slavery or involuntary servitude, or otherwise to employ that person for his or her own use, or to the use of another, without the free will and consent of that persuaded person.

A person who, being out of California, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings that person within the limits of California, is guilty of kidnapping.

Asportation is an element of kidnapping and requires that the forcible movement of a victim be “substantial in character,” that is, “more than slight” or “trivial.”[i] Forcible detention of a victim is an element of kidnapping.[ii]

Kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment for three, five, or eight years. If the person kidnapped is under 14 years of age, the kidnapping is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 5, 8, or 11 years.  If a person kidnaps or carries away another person with intent to hold or detain, that person for ransom, reward or to commit extortion or to exact from another person any money or valuable thing, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life without possibility of parole.  If a person kidnaps another to commit robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation or sodomy, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole.

The California Department of Justice has the responsibility of protecting citizens.  The Division of Law Enforcement works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to bring down crimes in the state. 

State Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General


[i] PEOPLE v. STEVENS, 2003 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9683 (Cal. App. 6th Dist. Oct. 10, 2003)

[ii] People v. Thomas, 26 Cal. App. 4th 1328, 1334 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 1994)

Inside California Kidnapping/Abduction Laws