Kidnapping Laws in Las Vegas, Nevada

Most people associate kidnapping from the movies as holding a person hostage for ransom.  Yet, Kidnapping is much more expansive and can trigger by moving or detaining someone more than what is necessary to complete an underlying felony or which increases harm to that person.


First Degree Kidnapping NRS 200.310(1)

First degree kidnapping occurs when the perpetrator willfully seizes, confines, inveigles, entices, decoys, abducts, conceals, kidnaps or carries away a person” with the intent to:

  • Hold or detain the person for ransom;
  • Commit sexual assault, extortion or robbery upon the victim;
  • Inflict substantial bodily harm upon the victim;
  • Kill the person;
  • Exact money or valuable property

In addition, a person is also guilty of first-degree kidnapping when the person “leads, takes, entices, carries away or detains any minor with the intent to:

  • Keep, imprison, or confine the minor from his or her parents, guardians, or any other person having lawful custody of the minor;
  • Hold the minor to unlawful service, or perpetrate upon the person of the minor any unlawful act


Second Degree Kidnapping NRS 200.310(2)

  • Kidnaping in the second degree occurs when the victim is moved with the intent to imprison, detain or take custody of that person against their will.
  • This is a related charge in many domestic violence cases where for example a significant other forces the other into the car and drives away for the purpose of detaining her.


The Same Course of Conduct

  • Dual convictions for Kidnapping and one of the listed predicate felonies above are permitted based upon the same conduct. For example, the same course of conduct can support convictions for both robbery and kidnapping if the movement or restraint standing alone has independent significance from the act of robbery itself.
  • Kidnapping occurs during the commission of a robbery if a jury can reasonably find that a victim’s movement substantially exceeded that which is necessary to complete the robbery and/or substantially increased the harm to her i.e., movement of the victim over and above that which is required to complete the felony.


Incidental Movement Is Often the Best Defense

  • The key issue is whether the movement or restraint is incidental to the associated offense or whether it creates a risk of danger to the victim substantially exceeding that necessarily present in the crime of robbery, or involves movement, seizure or restraint substantially in excess of that necessary to its completion.
  • The best defense against kidnapping is to show that the detention was inherent in, and necessary to, the robbery.
  • Acts which substantially lessen the risk of detection by witnesses and law enforcement tend to show an independent purpose for the movement at issue. For example, moving someone from a public to a private place substantially increases the risk of harm by diminishing the opportunity of people passing by to contact police or reduce the possibility of escape
  • However, moving a victim from one room inside a house to another room in search of valuables during the commission of a robbery is insufficient, by itself, to sustain convictions for both kidnapping and robbery.



First degree kidnapping with substantial bodily harm is a category A felony and carries:

  • Life without the possibility of parole;
  • Life with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 15 years; or
  • 40 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 15 years

However, the person does not suffer substantial bodily harm during the kidnapping, then the penalties are lessened to:

  • Life with the possibility of parole after 5 years has been served; or
  • 15 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 5 years

Second degree kidnapping is a category B felony which carries:

  • 2 to 15 years of imprisonment and/or;
  • Fines up to $15,000


Child Custody Kidnapping


According to NRS 200.359, the parents, relatives and legal guardians of the child can still be accused of kidnapping if they violated:

“An order, judgment or decree of any court regarding the detention, concealment or removal of a child from the person having lawful custody or from jurisdiction from the court”.

This is possible even if they have custodial rights and/or if the child willingly went with them.



Child custody kidnapping is usually classified as a category D felony and it carries the following penalties:

  • 1 to 4 years in prison;
  • Maximum fines of up to $5,000

If it is a first offense and if the child did not receive any grievous harm, the prosecutor may instead recommend that it should be sentenced as a misdemeanor and only carry the following penalties:

  • 6 months in jail and/or;
  • Maximum fines of up to $1,000.


Other Penalties of Kidnapping

Aside from the penalties mentioned above, some kidnapping cases may involve other penalties for:

  • Aiding or Abetting – If it was aiding or abetting someone in the act of kidnapping, the penalty only includes:
    • 2 to 15 years of imprisonment
  • Use of deadly weapon or firearm NRS 193.165 – Kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon carries a consecutive sentence of:
    • 1 to 20 years and makes you ineligible for probation on the second degree kidnapping.


Common Defenses Used for Kidnapping Charges

  • The defendant has no intent to kidnap the alleged victim.
  • The “victim” gave consent to the defendant. However, the consent cannot be used as a defense unless it was given by a person who is over 18 years old and/or was not affected by threats, duress or fraud.
  • There is insufficient evidenceto show that the defendant did the alleged kidnapping crime.
  • There is no “asportation”, which means the alleged victim was not transported anywhere during the kidnapping incident. This case can be reduced to false imprisonment.


Related Crimes/Charges

There are cases of kidnapping when other offenses are also committed. Some of these charges may include:

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault happens when the alleged perpetrator makes sexual penetration against the will of the alleged victim. It is also considered sexual assault when the victim is under conditions whereby the perpetrator knows that the victim lacks the ability to refuse or does not have the awareness of what was happening.

*Extortion (erroneously referred to a Blackmailing)

In simple terms, extortion happens when a person threatens another person with the purpose of extorting money or property.

Weapons or Firearms

An assault with a deadly weapon occurs when someone threatens or attempts to apply force against another person with the use of weapons or firearms.


Murder is the unlawful killing of a person, with malice (whether express or implied). It may be executed in different forms, including torture, poisoning, shooting, stabbing, strangulation, etc.

*False imprisonment

False imprisonment is the unlawful confinement of an individual without sufficient legal authority and is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

However, the penalties increase to a category B Felony which carries 1-6 years in prison if the person convicted used a deadly weapon or carries 1 – 15 years if the false imprisonment is committed by using the person so imprisoned as a shield or to avoid arrest.


Seeking Help from a kidnapping defense lawyer

Las Vegas defense attorney Ross C. Goodman can help you develop the best defense to successfully resolve a kidnapping and related charges. Contact Attorney Ross C. Goodman at (702) 383–5088 for a free consultation to further discuss your case.