Kidnapping is a potentially dangerous crime that involves the movement or confinement of another person against their will. Although there are similarities among kidnapping statutes, each jurisdiction handles the crime differently.
Degrees of Kidnapping in Missouri
Missouri divides kidnapping into three degrees. Kidnapping in the first degree is the most serious offense and is classified as a felony. In contrast, third degree kidnapping yields a misdemeanor charge unless the offender takes the victim out of state.
Parental Kidnapping Laws in Missouri
Missouri law also addresses parental kidnapping. There are two applicable offenses: parental kidnapping and custodial interference. Although custodial interference is a lesser offense, it can be charged as a felony if you leave Missouri with the child.
Explanation of Missouri Kidnapping Laws
Reading a condensed version of relevant statutes written in simple language can be an effective way to learn about the law. Read the chart below for a basic explanation of Missouri's kidnapping laws.
Missouri Revised Statutes:
- Section 565.110 (first degree kidnapping)
- Section 565-120 (second degree kidnapping)
- Section 565-130 (third degree kidnapping)
- Section 565-111 (child kidnapping)
- Section 565.150 (interference with custody)
- Section 565.153 (parental kidnapping)
Kidnapping in the first degree: The non-consensual and unlawful confinement or removal of a person from the place where they were found for purposes of either:
- Holding the person for ransom/reward, or for any other act to be performed or not performed in exchange for their release;
- Using the person as a shield or hostage;
- Interfering with the performance of any governmental or political function;
- Facilitating the commission of any felony or flight after; or
- Inflicting physical injury on or terrorizing the victim or another person.
Kidnapping in the second degree: The non-consensual unlawful restraint of a person to the extent that it interferes substantially with their liberty and exposes them to a substantial risk of serious physical injury.
Kidnapping in the third degree: The non-consensual unlawful restraint of a person to the extent that it interferes substantially with their liberty.
It's not kidnapping in the third degree if these conditions apply: The restrained person is a child younger than 17 and:
- A parent/guardian, or other person responsible for supervision of the child has consented; or
- The actor is a relative (parent, stepparent, ancestor, sibling, uncle or aunt); and the actor's sole purpose for the restraint is to assume control of the child; and the child isn't removed from Missouri.
Kidnapping Offenses Involving Children
Child kidnapping: A non-relative removes or confines a child under 14.
Parental kidnapping: A parent (or individual having a right of custody) removes/takes/detains/conceals or entices away the child with the intent to deprive the custody right of another person who also has the right to custody of the child.
Interference with custody: Knowing that they have no legal right to do so, an individual takes a child or other person who's been awarded custody to another person or institution.
Kidnapping in the first degree:
- Class A felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
- Committed to facilitate the commission of any felony or to inflict physical injury: Class B felony, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
Kidnapping in the second degree: Class D felony, punishable by up to 7 years imprisonment.
Kidnapping in the third degree: Class A misdemeanor unless the restrained person is removed from the state, then it's Class E felony, punishable by incarceration up to 4 years.
Child kidnapping: Class A felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Parental kidnapping:
- Class E felony, punishable by incarceration up to 4 years.
- Detainment/concealment of the child for at least 60 days, up to 190 days: Class D felony, punishable up to 7 years imprisonment.
- Detainment/concealment of the child for at least 120 days: Class B felony, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
- In addition to or instead of any sentence, restitution is a possible penalty.
Interference with custody: Class A misdemeanor, unless the person is removed from Missouri, then it's a Class E felony, punishable by incarceration up to 4 years.
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.
Missouri Kidnapping Laws: Related Resources
Get a Missouri Attorney's Help for Your Kidnapping Case
If you're accused of violating Missouri's kidnapping laws, it's a good idea to get legal help to deal with these serious charges. Talk to a criminal attorney near you who can help you get started with building your case.