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Massachusetts G.L. c. 265 § 26: Kidnapping

The offense of kidnapping is governed by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 265 section 26. This section governs the offense of kidnapping generally, while also providing significantly enhanced penalties for this offense under certain circumstances.

The statute defines kidnapping as follows:

“Whoever, without lawful authority, forcibly or secretly confines or imprisons another person within this commonwealth against his will, or forcibly carries or sends such person out of this commonwealth, or […] kidnaps another person, with intent either to cause him to be secretly confined or imprisoned in this commonwealth against his will, or to cause him to be sent out of this commonwealth against his will or in any way held to service against his will…”

In order to be convicted under this statute the Commonwealth must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. The Defendant acted forcibly or secretly to confine or imprison another;
  2. The Defendant intended his actions to cause another to be secretly confined, imprisoned or sent away;
  3. The Defendant’s actions were done against the will of another.

The potential punishments for kidnapping a person as provided by G.L. c. 265 section 26 may vary based on a variety of factors. A person convicted of this offense generally will face up to 10 years in state prison or 2 years in the house of correction and a fine of not more than $1,000.

However, the statute provides enhanced penalties for kidnapping based on a variety of factors and circumstances surrounding the offense.

For instance, a person convicted of this offense with the intent to extort money or anything else of value may face an enhanced penalty, including the possibility of imprisonment in state prison for life or for any term of years.

Additionally, a person convicted of this offense while armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other assault weapon may face a minimum state prison sentence of not less than 10 years, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years.

Further, if someone commits this offense while armed with another dangerous weapon, other then those detailed above, and where the offense resulted in serious bodily injury or sexual assault, the offender may face a further enhanced sentence of imprisonment in state prison for not less than 25 years.

Finally, the provisions of these preceding punishments may not apply to parents of children under 18 years of age who take custody of that child. However, kidnapping of a child under the age of 16, where it does not involve parents of that child, may also be subject to harsher punishments and penalties, including a sentence of up to 15 years in state prison.

Given the varying nature of these punishments, it is important to consult with a criminal law attorney experienced in defending kidnapping cases who can help you explore your defenses and receive the best possible disposition for such an offense.

Massachusetts Assault and Battery Attorney 617-263-6800

Attorney Stephen Neyman represents individuals charged with various criminal offenses throughout the state of Massachusetts. Attorney Neyman has decades of experience defending against these types of charges and is a fierce advocate who will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call Attorney Neyman’s office at 617-263-6800 or send him an e-mail today.

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