What is Kidnapping in Pennsylvania?

What is Kidnapping in Pennsylvania?

Kidnapping is one of the most severe crimes in Pennsylvania.  Depending on where you remove the person to, it may even become a Federally Prosecuted Crime.  Pennsylvania’s Kidnapping law is 18 Pa.C.S. 2901Chapter 29 of the Pennsylvania Criminal Code contains a list of crimes associated with or like Kidnapping.  So: What is Kidnapping in Pennsylvania?

Kidnapping Definition in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania defines Kidnapping as:

Unlawful removal of another a substantial distance from the place found, or unlawfully confines another for a significant period in isolation, with any of the following intentions:

(1)  To hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.

(2)  To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter.

(3)  To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another.

(4)  To interfere with the performance by public officials of any governmental or political function.

Kidnapping is essentially taking and holding someone against their will. This crime does not only involve children; it includes both adults and children.  For Kidnapping, there must be the use of force, threats, or deception to take custody of the victim.

Degrees and Punishment of Kidnapping in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Kidnapping statute grades the offense as a 1st Degree Felony with a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

Kidnapping Related Crimes in Pennsylvania

Chapter 29 of the Pennsylvania Crime Code contains criminal offenses similar to or related to Kidnapping such as:

Unlawful restraint

False imprisonment

Interference with custody of children

Interference with custody of committed persons

Criminal coercion also referred to as Abduction

Disposition of ransom

Missing children

Concealment of whereabouts of a child

Luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure

Details regarding a couple of the other Kidnapping related crimes:

Luring a Child

Luring a child into a motor vehicle or structure without a parent or guardian’s consent includes cars, houses, apartments, stores, warehouses, cargo containers, trailers, campers, and boats.

– If convicted, you face a misdemeanor of the first degree and up to five years in prison.

Criminal Coercion

Criminal coercion also referred to as Abduction occurs when someone intentionally restricts the freedom of another person and threatens to do one or more of the following:

  • Commit a criminal offense
  • Accuse anyone of a criminal offense
  • Expose a secret that would subject someone to hatred, contempt or ridicule
  • Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action

– Criminal coercion is a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, if the offender threatens to commit a felony or their intent is evil, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Interference w/ Custody of a Child

Interfering with the custody of children occurs when you knowingly or recklessly take or entice a child under 18 from the care of their parent or guardian.

  • Among divorced parents with children, interfering with custody may occur because a parent misunderstands a court order, there is a communication problem or a parent deliberately breaks the rules to keep their child longer.
  • Sometimes a parent violates custody rules intentionally because they believe doing so will keep their child safe.

– If you are not the parent and you knew your action would cause serious alarm for the child’s safety, but you had reckless disregard for that alarm, you face a felony of the second degree if you are convicted.

– If you are a parent and you took the child when you did not have custody or visitation, you are looking at a felony of the third degree.

False imprisonment

False Imprisonment is Kidnapping, but without the removal of the person to another location.  It is taking custody of someone and interfering with their liberty to move, but in the same place that the denial of movement occurred.

How Paul S. Peters III, Esquire Can Help

Facing a Kidnapping charge is a severe and grave situation.  A Kidnapping conviction is highly likely to result in a prison sentence.  You need a Criminal Defense Attorney, like Attorney Peters, who will stand by you every step of the way, work tirelessly to discredit any evidence, aggressively advocate for you, and work with you to determine the best strategy to achieve the best possible result.  Do not waste time or make the wrong decision concerning a Kidnapping charge.

Kidnapping Charges create complicated fact scenarios with serious consequences if convicted, therefore, these cases require that you have an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive defense attorney to craft and present clear and convincing arguments challenging the evidence, and careful and precise cross-examination to shed doubt on the testimony of witnesses.  This is why you need a trusted and experienced criminal defense attorney such as Paul S. Peters III, Esquire.

If you or a loved one face Kidnapping Charges, you MUST call Attorney Paul S. Peters III, Esquire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and he can appear at late night bail hearings.  Attorney Paul S. Peters III, Esquire knows that crime and the police never sleep.






If you are arrested in any of the following Pennsylvania Counties:            MontgomeryPhiladelphiaBucksDelawareChesterLehigh, LancasterNorthamptonBerksAdamsCumberlandDauphinFranklinFultonHuntingtonJuniataLebanonMifflinPerrySnyderYork BradfordCameronCentreClintonLycomingMontourNorthumberlandPotterSullivanTiogaUnionCarbonColumbiaLackawannaLuzerneMonroePikeSchuylkillSusquehannaWayne, and Wyoming County 

It is important you contact the trusted, aggressive, and experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney:


Paul S. Peters III, Esquire at: