Mar 22

Under Illinois law, it is illegal to kidnap or otherwise confine a person against his or her will. While popular movies and TV shows might take a simplistic view of kidnapping, there are many subtleties to this crime in Illinois. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the kidnapper can even face serious prison time and steep fines for aggravated kidnapping.

Kidnapping in Illinois

Under 720 ILCS 5/10-1, a person commits kidnapping in Illinois if he or she willingly:

  • Confines another person in secret against that person’s will;
  • Uses force or the threat of force to compel another person into confinement; or
  • Deceives or entices another person into confinement.

720 ILCS 5/10-1 classifies kidnapping as a Class 2 felony. Upon conviction, the potential penalties include three to seven years in prison, $25,000 in criminal fines, and 48 months of probation.

Aggravated Kidnapping in Illinois

Under 720 ILCS 5/10-2, a regular kidnapping offense can become aggravated kidnapping under specific circumstances. Aggravated kidnapping applies when the kidnapper:

  • Attempts to extract a ransom payment in exchange for the victim;
  • Takes a minor child under 13 years old or a person with an intellectual disability;
  • Inflicts serious physical injury upon the victim;
  • Conceals his or her identity with a hood, robe, or mask;
  • Uses a dangerous weapon during the kidnapping offense;
  • Brandishes a firearm during the kidnapping offense;
  • Discharges a firearm during the kidnapping offense; or
  • Discharges a firearm and causes serious physical injury to another person.

720 ILCS 5/10-2 classifies aggravated kidnapping as a Class X felony. Upon conviction, the potential penalties include six to 30 years in prison and $25,000 in criminal fines. Probation is not available for aggravated kidnapping.

Even though the different versions of aggravated kidnapping are all Class X felonies under 720 ILCS 5/10-2, there are differences in the applicable penalties. For example, aggravated kidnapping where the kidnapper:

  • Brandishes a Firearm: Results in 15 years added to the prison sentence;
  • Discharges a Firearm: Results in 20 years added to the prison sentence; and
  • Discharges a Firearm and Causes Serious Harm: Results in 25 years to life added to the prison sentence.

Additionally, 720 ILCS 5/10-2 mandates a special penalty for repeat offenders. If a person commits aggravated kidnapping two or more times, then there is a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or by completing an online form.

(image courtesy of Rene Bohmer)