Intentional Tort Kidnapping Lawyer
Are you a victim of kidnapping or false imprisonment in the Chicago area? If so, it was likely a traumatic experience that could’ve resulted in severe physical and emotional harm. If you have been kidnapped or falsely imprisoned, know that legal help is available. A kidnapping lawyer in Chicago could help you seek answers, compensation, and justice. At Wallace Miller, we have extensive experience fighting for those who’ve been the victim of kidnapping and false imprisonment in Illinois. We’ll be ready to put our skills and resources to work for you.
Call or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.
What Is Considered Kidnapping in Illinois?
Kidnapping is the unlawful confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person against their will. The definition of kidnapping can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but in Illinois, it’s confining someone else against their will. This statute also applies when a perpetrator uses force or threat of force to take someone to another location and confine them against their will or when they use deceit or enticement to accomplish the same.
What Is Aggravated Kidnapping?
Aggravated kidnapping is a more serious situation. It could involve a perpetrator kidnapping their victim to extort a ransom, inflicting bodily harm on the victim during the ordeal, or using a weapon during the kidnapping. Another scenario where this charge applies is when the perpetrator kidnaps a child under the age of thirteen or someone with developmental disabilities. If the perpetrator conceals their identity during the act, this would also fall under aggravated kidnapping.
What Is Intentional Tort Law and Kidnapping?
When people think of kidnapping, they often associate it with ransom demands. In reality, many kidnapping cases are related to child custody disputes, where one parent takes a child away from the other parent or violates a court-ordered custody arrangement. In some cases, the accused might argue that they did not intend to kidnap the victim. They may also say that they had consent and that the charges of abduction were only made after the fact.
Kidnapping and Criminal Law
The kidnapping laws in the United States have their roots in the common law principles established in England. Historically, kidnapping was defined as the forceful abduction of a person before sending them to another country. However, as time passed, states began to reinterpret the definition of kidnapping, eventually dropping the requirement for the victim to be transported across state lines. The main focus of the crime then became the illegal detention of the victim.
State kidnapping statutes aim to protect the personal freedom of citizens and provide the necessary legal assistance for their release from unlawful restraint. Along with that, the Federal Kidnapping Act, commonly referred to as the Lindbergh Law, prohibits the kidnapping of individuals across state lines. Federal laws also address abduction in U.S. territories, on the high seas, in the air, and of government officials.
The Lindbergh Law doesn’t classify kidnapping into different degrees. However, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines outline that a harsher sentence may be imposed if the kidnapping harmed the victim or if the kidnapper used a firearm in the commission of the crime.
What Is Lack of Consent?
A vital element of a kidnapping charge is the lack of consent from the victim. According to common law and modern legislation, taking or transporting someone must be done against their will to qualify as kidnapping. The involuntary nature of abduction and detention is at the heart of the crime of kidnapping.
Even if the victim initially agreed to the situation, you can still establish the lack of consent element if they change their mind at any point. It’s important to remember that if the victim initially consented but then wanted to leave and was prevented from doing so, it could be considered kidnapping under Illinois law.
What Are Some Legal Remedies for Kidnapping Under Civil Law
Victims of kidnapping can file a civil suit and pursue legal remedies in cases where the perpetrator was caught and is being criminally charged and in cases where the perpetrator was not formally charged. In either case, you may be able to recover monetary damages for any injuries and pain you have suffered.
Suppose you suffered a physical injury during the kidnapping. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover costs like medical bills, therapy copays, and lost wages for any time you missed work. Your attorney may also be able to recover compensation for your mental suffering during the ordeal, including shame, fright, and mortification.
In certain situations, the court may also award you punitive damages. This type of compensation is typically reserved for severe cases such as aggravated kidnapping or if the case involves extreme violence. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a perpetrator for a particularly egregious act.
What Are Some Potential Defense Arguments to Overcome?
Two of the most common defenses to a kidnapping charge are consent and the mistake of fact. Here are details of each and ways your attorney might counter these arguments:
Kidnapping must be involuntary. Because of this, the defense may argue that the plaintiff consented to what happened or that the defendant acted within their parental rights when they took their child.
The consent of the victim is a legitimate defense to this charge. Still, if your attorney can prove that you either did not consent to what happened or that you initially agreed to some part of the act but later changed your mind, this might establish a sufficient lack of consent.
Mistake of Fact
In cases where a particular fact is part of the crime, it’s not a valid defense for the defendant to claim that they either weren’t aware of this fact or that they believed something that turned out not to be true. This is especially pertinent to cases where a parent kidnaps their child. For example, not having a clear understanding of the custody arrangement would not stand as a legal defense for what they did.
How Could a Kidnapping Lawyer Help Me?
Whether or not the perpetrator in your case has been criminally charged, a kidnapping lawyer could help you hold this person accountable for their actions and recover compensation that will allow you to heal from what happened to you. Here are a few ways a kidnapping attorney could help you with your case.
- Utilize evidence such as police statements, medical records, witness testimony, and more to prove your claims and justify compensation for the harm you’ve suffered.
- Your attorney could seek money to help you pay for both short-term and long-term medical care and compensate you for your mental suffering.
- If you were kidnapped at a business with insufficient security measures, your attorney may also seek compensation and hold the company accountable for its lapse in security.
Your civil suit doesn’t need to hinge on whether the perpetrator was charged with a crime, convicted, or even whether law enforcement caught them. A civil suit can help bring justice to victims and their families when criminal cases fail. Your attorney can take care of every aspect of your lawsuit so that you can focus on recovering from what was done to you.
Wallace Miller Could Help You Seek Justice and Find Closure
At Wallace Miller, our attorneys fight for the rights of those who’ve been victims of kidnapping and false imprisonment in Chicago. We strongly believe that your voice deserves to be heard, and the person or parties responsible for your kidnapping should be held accountable. To discuss your situation and legal options with an experienced Chicago intentional tort lawyer, call us at (312) 261-6193 or contact us online right away. Our consultations are free and 100% confidential, so there’s no risk in reaching out to us to find out how we can help.