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Colorado Kidnapping Laws

A kidnapping is a crime committed by carrying away, confining, or imprisoning another person. Although many of the key elements are present in any kidnapping across the United States, the exact charges vary depending on the jurisdiction. In many cases, the kidnapping is defined by the intent and the goals of the abductor and the results of the kidnapping.

For instance, for a first-degree kidnapping conviction in Colorado, the perpetrator must intend to force the victim or another person to make a concession or give up something of value to secure a release of the kidnapped person.

Explanation of Colorado Kidnapping Laws

Because of complex legal jargon, it's often difficult to comprehend the meaning of a statute. That's why it's beneficial to read an explanation of the text written in plain language to supplement your legal research. See the chart below for important information on kidnapping laws in Colorado.


Colorado Revised Statutes:

  • Section 18-3-301(First Degree Kidnapping)
  • Section 18-3-302 (Second Degree Kidnapping)


First Degree Kidnapping


First Degree Kidnapping:

  • Seizes and carries any person from one place to another; or
  • Entices or persuades any person to go from one place to another; or
  • Imprisons any person.

If the victim suffered bodily injury: Class 1 felony, punishable by life imprisonment or death. No death sentence for an individual convicted of first degree kidnapping if the victim was liberated alive prior to the conviction of the kidnapper.

If prior to conviction, the victim was liberated unharmed: Class 2 felony, punishable by up to 24 years imprisonment.

Second Degree Kidnapping

Second Degree Kidnapping: Individual does the following:

  • Knowingly seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without their consent and without lawful justification; or
  • Takes, entices, or decoys a minor (under age 18) who isn't their own child with intent to keep or conceal from their parent or with intent to sell, trader, or barter the child.

Class 2 Felony:

  • The kidnapped person is a victim of a sexual offense; or
  • The kidnapped person is a victim of a robbery.

Class 3 Felony:

  • Kidnapping is accomplished with the intent to sell, trade, or barter the victim; or
  • Kidnapping is accomplished by using a deadly weapon; or
  • Kidnapping is accomplished with any item used in a manner to cause a reasonable person to believe the item is a deadly weapon;
  • Kidnapping is accomplished by the perpetrator telling the victim that they are armed with a deadly weapon.

All other kidnappings are Class 4 felonies, punishable by up to 6 years imprisonment.

Related Offenses

Colorado Revised Statutes:

  • Section 18-3-304 (Violation of Custody Order or Order Relating to Parental Responsibilities)
  • Section 18-3-303 (False Imprisonment)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Colorado Kidnapping Laws: Related Resources

Facing Kidnapping Charges in Colorado? Get an Attorney's Help

If you're accused of violating Colorado's kidnapping laws, then you need to seek help immediately. Whether you're facing charges in the first or second degree, a conviction can result in significant time behind bars. Consult with an experienced criminal attorney who can work on proving defensive theories, specific to your case.

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