New York Kidnapping/Abducting Laws

Kidnapping is the crime of taking a person against their will to an undisclosed location.  This may be done for ransom or in furtherance of another crime, or in connection with a child custody dispute.

According to the laws of New York, a person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree when s/he abducts another person and:

  • His or her intent is to compel a third person to pay or deliver money or property as ransom, or to engage in other particular conduct, or to refrain from engaging in particular conduct; o
  • S/He restrains the person abducted for a period of more than twelve hours with intent to:
  • Inflict physical injury upon him or violate or abuse him sexually; or
  • Accomplish or advance the commission of a felony; or
  • Terrorize him or a third person; or
  • Interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function; or
  • The person abducted dies during the abduction or before s/he is able to return or to be returned to safety.  such death shall be presumed from evidence that a person whom the person abducted would have been extremely likely to visit or communicate with during the specified period were s/he alive and free to do so did not see or hear from him during such period and received no reliable information during such period persuasively indicating that s/he was alive.

Kidnapping in the first degree is a class A-I felony[i].  A person is guilty of kidnapping in the second degree when he abducts another person.  Kidnapping in the second degree is a class B felony[ii].

In any prosecution for kidnapping, it is an affirmative defense that (a) the defendant was a relative of the person abducted, and (b) his or her sole purpose was to assume control of such person[iii].

In New York, Operation Safe Child was expanded by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS)’s Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse in 2005 to promote child safety.

Operation Safe Child


[i] NY CLS Penal § 135.25

[ii] NY CLS Penal § 135.20

[iii] NY CLS Penal § 135.30


Inside New York Kidnapping/Abducting Laws