Washington Kidnapping/Abduction Laws

Washington law classifies kidnapping into two categories: first degree and second degree.  According Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.020, a person commits the crime of kidnapping in first degree if s/he intentionally abducts another person with intent to:

  • hold the person kidnapped for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage; or
  • facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or
  • inflict bodily injury on him; or
  • inflict extreme mental distress on him or a third person; or
  • Interfere with the performance of any governmental function.

A person is guilty of kidnapping in second degree as per Washington law Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.030 if s/he intentionally abducts another person under circumstances other than first degree kidnapping.

It is not a crime of kidnapping in second degree if the abduction does not include the use of deadly force, the person committing the crime of abducting is a relative of the person abducted, and sole intent is to assume custody of that person.  The elements of kidnapping are: (1) intentionally abducting the victim (2) to facilitate the commission of a felony.[i]

According to Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.020 kidnapping in first degree is a class A felony and as per Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.40.030 kidnapping in second degree is a class B felony.  Kidnapping in second degree with a finding of sexual motivation is a class A felony.  Punishment for class A felony is imprisonment for over twenty years or more and for class B felony is eight years or more.[ii]

Washington police department investigates the crime of kidnapping and abduction.

Washington Police Department


[i] State v. Vladovic, 99 Wn.2d 413 (Wash. 1983)

[ii] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.94A.035


Inside Washington Kidnapping/Abduction Laws