Criminal Offenses Against the Person

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Did you know that, for the purposes of measuring crime in the United States, criminal activity is generally classified as violent crime or property crime. For example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, or BCJS, defines “property crime” as burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, larceny, internet crime, and identity theft. It defines “violent crime” as murder, rape and sexual assault, robbery, and assault. It also classifies stalking and intimidation as violent crime. 

Another term for violent crime can be “crimes against the person.” This term is used to describe offenses in which perpetrators injure, threaten to injure, or force victims to act against their will. In addition to the offenses listed above, kidnapping, abduction, and unlawful restraint are crimes against the person.

Kidnapping is a criminal offense punishable under state and federal law. In either case, it is broadly defined as taking someone from one location to another against his or her will or confining someone in a way that gives the kidnapper absolute or nearly absolute control over the victim. To be classified as kidnapping in some jurisdictions, these acts must be committed as part of a separate crime, or committed to facilitate another crime.

The legal elements of abduction are similar to those of kidnapping, with one exception. Abduction occurs when the perpetrator physically takes the victim against his or her will or when the perpetrator convinces the victim to come willingly. Conversely, kidnapping always involves the use of force. A kidnapping victim never goes with the kidnapper willingly. 

The motives for these crimes also differ. In many cases, abduction is committed for the sole purpose of disrupting family relationships. On the other hand, kidnappers may have financial or political motives.

Unlawful restraint is another crime against the person. Someone engages in unlawful restraint when they wrongfully deprive another person or persons of their physical ability to come and go freely. More specifically, this offense occurs when the perpetrator: 

  • Deliberately restrains the victim
  • For any length of time
  • Without the victim’s consent 
  • In a manner that does not allow the victim to leave
  • Without proper legal cause

Each of these crimes is a serious offense that can bring significant punishment upon conviction. If you have been charged with any of these crimes, it can be important to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side. Please call our law firm to schedule a free consultation at your earliest convenience.