According to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-40 a person is guilty of kidnapping when s/he abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority or warrant and holds such other person against his or her will. There shall be movement for the offense of kidnapping to occur, although slight movement is sufficient. However, that slight movement of another person which occurs while in the commission of any other offense shall not constitute the offense of kidnapping if such movement is merely incidental to the offense.
Movement shall not be considered merely incidental to another offense if it:
- Conceals or isolates the victim;
- Makes the commission of the other offense substantially easier;
- Lessens the risk of detection; or
- Is for the purpose of avoiding apprehension.
Under OCGA § 16-5-40 (a), “[a] person commits the offense of kidnapping when he abducts or steals away any person without lawful authority or warrant and holds such person against his will.” Therefore, the elements of kidnapping are (1) an illegal holding, (2) an overmastering of the victim’s will, and (3) an asportation of the victim.[i]
A person convicted of the offense of kidnapping shall be punished by:
- Imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years if the kidnapping involved a victim who was 14 years of age or older;
- Imprisonment for life or by a split sentence that is a term of imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation for life, if the kidnapping involved a victim who is less than 14 years of age;
- Life imprisonment or death if the kidnapping was for ransom; or
- Life imprisonment or death if the person kidnapped received bodily injury.
A person convicted shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Sections 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7. According to Section 17-10-6.1, any person convicted of kidnapping involving a victim who is 14 years of age or older will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of ten years.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation or GBI is an independent, State Of Georgia agency that provides assistance to the state’s criminal justice system in the areas of criminal investigations, forensic laboratory services and computerized criminal justice information.
[i] Leppla v. State, 277 Ga. App. 804, 805-806 (Ga. Ct. App. 2006)