Kentucky Kidnapping/Abduction Laws

According to KRS § 509.040 a person is guilty of kidnapping when s/he unlawfully restrains another person and when his or her intent is:

  • To hold the victim for ransom or reward; or
  • To accomplish or to advance the commission of a felony; or
  • To inflict bodily injury or to terrorize the victim or another; or
  • To interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function; or
  • To use him or her as a shield or hostage; or
  • To deprive the parents or guardian of the custody of a minor, when the person taking the minor is not a person exercising custodial control or supervision of the minor.

Kidnapping is a Class B felony when the victim is released alive and in a safe place prior to trial.  Kidnapping is a Class A felony when the victim is released alive but the victim has suffered serious physical injury during the kidnapping, or as a result of not being released in a safe place, or as a result of being released in any circumstances which are intended, known or should have been known to cause or lead to serious physical injury. Kidnapping is a capital offense when the victim is not released alive or when the victim is released alive but subsequently dies as a result of serious physical injuries suffered during the kidnapping; or not being released in a safe place; or being released in any circumstances which are intended, known or should have been known to cause or lead to the victim’s death.

The elements of kidnapping include the unlawful restraint of another with the intent to accomplish or advance the commission of a felony or inflict bodily injury.[i]

According to KRS § 532.060, for a Class A felony, sentence of imprisonment is  not less than 20 years and not more than 50 years, or life imprisonment.  For a Class B felony, sentence is not less than 10 years and not more than 20 years.

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet is responsible for criminal justice services, which encompasses law enforcement activities and training and prevention of crimes.   The Cabinet’s vision is to continuously improve public safety and the quality of life.

Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet


[i] Brown v. Commonwealth, 890 S.W.2d 286, 288 (Ky. 1994)


Inside Kentucky Kidnapping/Abduction Laws