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Tennessee Kidnapping Laws

Most states, including Tennessee, classify kidnapping as a serious crime. In addition to a kidnapping statute, Tennessee also has statutes that address various circumstances that can elevate the offense to aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping. Of note, if a person voluntarily releases the victim alive or voluntarily provides information to the victim's safe release, these actions will be considered as a mitigating factor at the time of sentencing.

Overview of Tennessee Kidnapping Laws

It's important to read the actual language of the law when you have a legal question. Unfortunately, this can take time as laws are usually written in legal jargon. To save you the effort, the chart below provides both an overview of Tennessee kidnapping laws and links to the relevant statutes.


Tennessee Code, Title 39, Chapter 13:


Kidnapping occurs when someone knowingly and unlawfully confines or removes another person to substantially interfere their liberty and exposes them to substantial risk of bodily injury.

Aggravated Kidnapping

When a kidnapping is committed under one of the following circumstances, it becomes aggravated kidnapping:

  • To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight after committing a felony;
  • To interfere with the performance of any political or governmental function;
  • With the intent to inflict serious bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or someone else;
  • Where the victim suffers bodily injury; or
  • While the defendant possesses a deadly weapon or threaten the use of a deadly weapon.
Especially Aggravated Kidnapping

When a kidnapping is committed in one of the following circumstances, it becomes especially aggravated kidnapping:

  • Accomplished with a deadly weapon or something that a victim would reasonably believe is a deadly weapon;
  • Where the victim is under the age of 13;
  • Committed to hold the victim for a ransom or reward;
  • Committed to use the victim as a shield or hostage; or
  • Where the victim suffers serious bodily injury.
Charges and Penalties

Kidnapping is a Class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Aggravated kidnapping is a Class B felony punishable by 8 to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Especially aggravated kidnapping is a Class A felony punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Related Statute(s)

Tennessee Code

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.

Tennessee Kidnapping Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like additional information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links below.

Charged with Kidnapping in Tennessee? Speak to an Attorney

A kidnapping conviction in Tennessee can lead to prison time and hefty fines, but there are mitigating factors. There are also situations where the crime of kidnapping isn't always clear, like when you're trying to protect someone from themselves. Considering the consequences and gray areas, it's a good idea to consult with a local criminal defense attorney if you've been charged with violating Tennessee kidnapping laws.

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