Massachusetts Kidnapping Laws

Kidnapping occurs when a person is taken against their will. While each state has its own definition and classification of kidnapping, it's usually treated as a serious crime. Massachusetts defines kidnapping as secretly or forcibly confining another person in the state or carrying them out of the state against their will. In Massachusetts, the punishment for kidnapping will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the crime, such as the age of the victim and whether a weapon was used. Massachusetts also has a separate statute addressing when a relative kidnaps a child or an incompetent person.

Overview of Massachusetts Kidnapping Laws

When researching the law, it's important to read the actual statutes that apply to your question. However, most of the time laws are written in a way that can take a while to interpret and understand. That's why it can be helpful to read a summary of the law in plain English. In the following chart you can find an overview of Massachusetts kidnapping laws in addition to links to the relevant statutes.

Statute(s)

Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 265:

Kidnapping: Circumstances and Punishments

Kidnapping is generally punishable by up to 10 years in state prison, or by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to two years in jail. But the punishment will vary depending on the following circumstances:

  • Kidnapping someone with a firearm is punishable by at least 10 years in state prison or up to two and a half years in a house of correction.
  • Kidnapping someone with a firearm with the intent to extort money or other valuable property is punishably by 20 years to life in state prison.
  • Kidnapping someone with a dangerous weapon and inflicting serious bodily injury or sexually assaulting the victim is punishable by not less than 25 years in state prison.
  • Kidnapping someone under the age of 16 is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
Kidnapping by Relative

It's prohibited for a relative to:

  • Hold or intend hold a child under 18 years old for a permanent or an extended period of time; or
  • Take or entice from lawful custody an incompetent person.

Kidnapping by a relative is punishable by up to one year in a house of correction and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the child is taken out of the state or the incompetent person is taken in a way that endangered their safety the punishment increases to up to 5 years in state prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Drugging Persons for Kidnapping

It's prohibited to drug someone with the intent to overpower them in order to confine them within the state or take them out of the state against their will.

Drugging a person for kidnapping is punishable by 10 years to life in state prison; however, if the intent was to extort money or other valuable property, the minimum prison term increases to 15 years.

Related Statute(s)

Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 265:

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.

Massachusetts Kidnapping Laws: Related Resources

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

Get Legal Help With Your Kidnapping Charges in Massachusetts

As you can see, kidnapping is a serious offense in Massachusetts and under certain circumstances, a conviction can result in a lifetime in prison. If you've been charged with kidnapping in Massachusetts, it's in your best interest to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case and to prepare the best defense.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.