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Kidnapping in NC


In North Carolina, there are two types or degrees of kidnapping. That may come as a surprise to you.

When people think of kidnapping, in the traditional sense, they may think of someone abducting a child or another person. You may even think of it as holding someone hostage or for ransom.

Under the NC criminal laws, there are two types:

  • First Degree Kidnapping, which is more serious a Class C Felony
  • Second Degree Kidnapping, a Class E Felony

Kidnapping in North Carolina is a Common Law Offense, which means the roots of the law come from England. Years ago, kidnapping was more common than today.

“It is still an extremely serious felony charge and is likely broader than what you have seen in movies or TV.”

– John Fanney, Raleigh Criminal Lawyer

What is Kidnapping in NC?

Kidnapping can be charged in a lot of different scenarios.

So, what does the law say? If you’re charged with Kidnapping in Wake County, North Carolina, you will either be charged with First Degree or Second Degree.

If you are charged with Second Degree Kidnapping, the State must prove the following things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you confined a person within an area, that you restrained a person’s ability to move, or you took a person from one place to another;
  • That the other person did not consent or give you permission to do one of the things listed above OR the other person is under the age of 16 and that person’s parent/guardian did not consent to you doing one of the things listed above;
    • Note: you can’t trick someone into giving you permission. If you trick someone that could be considered fraud, so the person you tricked wouldn’t be giving you valid permission or “consent”, as the courts call it. Also, if you scare somebody enough that they go along with what you are trying to do to them, that would cancel out the permission or “consent”, the court’s call that “duress”.
  • That your purpose or reason for doing what you did was to:
    • Hold the person hostage so somebody else does something you want;
    • Hold the person for ransom;
    • To use the person as a human shield from danger; OR
    • To terrorize that person or another person
      • Note: to terrorize someone, it needs to be intense. It must be more than just scaring someone. The person you kidnapped must be in a very high degree of fear.
      • An example of terrorizing that the courts have used for comparison would be severely beating someone, believing them to be conscious and aware of what you are doing to them, stuffing that person into a garbage can, then throwing that person into a water-filled ditch. That’s intense. That’s terrorizing.
Degrees of Kidnapping in North Carolina

If you are charged with First Degree Kidnapping, the State must prove everything listed above, beyond a reasonable doubt, with the additional aggravating factual circumstance:

  • That you released the person in an unsafe place, that you sexually assaulted the other person, or that you seriously injured the person.

As you can see, there is a lot that the State MUST prove to convict you of kidnapping. And to prove it, they must have EVIDENCE to back it up! Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt!

What Does Indicted Mean?


Reasonable Doubt is the highest standard of proof in the land and is one of your many important constitutional rights. You have no burden of proof. The State (the prosecutor or the “DA” in North Carolina) has to prove each and every element of the offense of Kidnapping Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

You’re not even required to present any form of evidence and the fact that you stand silent in court cannot be used against you as evidence of guilt.

These cases are no joke. If someone accuses you of kidnapping, lawyer up. Allegations of kidnapping in NC can do more than just destroy your reputation or livelihood. If you are convicted, the maximum term of prison is 231 months.

If you are charged with Kidnapping in Wake County, North Carolina, the attorneys at Fanney Law Office have your back.

We'll carefully analyze the Motion for Discovery, review the police investigation and witness statements, making sure it was done right and is legal.

If you have been charged with Kidnapping or some other felony or misdemeanor charges, give the criminal lawyers at Fanney Law Office a call at (919) 617-7009.

When your future is on the line, you want lawyers with experience and knowledge in your corner. We’re here to help. Call our Criminal Defense Lawyers Raleigh NC

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