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When is kidnapping a federal crime?

Kidnapping is a crime that can be confusing when it comes to prosecution. While local or state authorities may take charge and even apprehend the suspect, the actual crime may end up being federal and federal law enforcement may step in. There are specific situations where a kidnapping becomes a federal crime. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, kidnapping becomes a federal crime in six different situations. If a child under the age of 16 is taken by a non-custodial parent outside of the country, the feds will handle the case. Federal law enforcement also retain the rights if the person kidnapped is a foreign official or otherwise has international protection. If the victim is transported over state lines, it becomes a federal case. Any kidnapping in maritime or aircraft jurisdiction areas are also federal. Finally, the kidnapping of a federal employee comes under the federal jurisdiction. 

It is important to note that with parental kidnappings, they are generally left to the state, regardless of other factors. The only exception is when the child is taken out of the country. This triggers the crime to become federal as long as the child is under the age of 16. 

The kidnapping of children is taken most seriously. They are the most vulnerable. If you were in a situation being charged with federal kidnapping of a child, you would face much harsher sentencing than you would for any other type of kidnapping. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice. 

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