2001 2a4_1

2001 Federal Sentencing Guideline Manual

§2A4.1. Kidnapping, Abduction, Unlawful Restraint

(a) Base Offense Level: 24

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If a ransom demand or a demand upon government was made, increase by 6 levels.

(2)(A) If the victim sustained permanent or life-threatening bodily injury, increase by 4 levels; (B) if the victim sustained serious bodily injury, increase by 2 levels; or (C) if the degree of injury is between that specified in subdivisions (A) and (B), increase by 3 levels.

(3) If a dangerous weapon was used, increase by 2 levels.

(4)(A) If the victim was not released before thirty days had elapsed, increase by 2 levels.

(B) If the victim was not released before seven days had elapsed, increase by 1 level.

(C) If the victim was released before twenty-four hours had elapsed, decrease by 1 level.

(5) If the victim was sexually exploited, increase by 3 levels.

(6) If the victim is a minor and, in exchange for money or other consideration, was placed in the care or custody of another person who had no legal right to such care or custody of the victim, increase by 3 levels.

(7) If the victim was kidnapped, abducted, or unlawfully restrained during the commission of, or in connection with, another offense or escape therefrom; or if another offense was committed during the kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint, increase to --

(A) the offense level from the Chapter Two offense guideline applicable to that other offense if such offense guideline includes an adjustment for kidnapping, abduction, or unlawful restraint, or otherwise takes such conduct into account; or

(B) 4 plus the offense level from the offense guideline applicable to that other offense, but in no event greater than level 43, in any other case,

if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(c) Cross Reference

(1) If the victim was killed under circumstances that would constitute murder under 18 U.S.C. § 1111 had such killing taken place within the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of the United States, apply §2A1.1 (First Degree Murder).


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 115(b)(2), 351(b), (d), 1201, 1203, 1751(b). For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. For purposes of this guideline—

Definitions of "serious bodily injury" and "permanent or life-threatening bodily injury" are found in the Commentary to §1B1.1 (Application Instructions). However, for purposes of this guideline, "serious bodily injury" means conduct other than criminal sexual abuse, which is taken into account in the specific offense characteristic under subsection (b)(5).

2. "A dangerous weapon was used" means that a firearm was discharged, or a "firearm" or "dangerous weapon" was "otherwise used" (as defined in the Commentary to §1B1.1 (Application Instructions)).

3. For the purpose of subsection (b)(4)(C), "released" includes allowing the victim to escape or turning him over to law enforcement authorities without resistance.

4. "Sexually exploited" includes offenses set forth in 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2244, 2251, and 2421-2423.

5. In the case of a conspiracy, attempt, or solicitation to kidnap, §2X1.1 (Attempt, Solicitation, or Conspiracy) requires that the court apply any adjustment that can be determined with reasonable certainty. Therefore, for example, if an offense involved conspiracy to kidnap for the purpose of committing murder, subsection (b)(7) would reference first degree murder (resulting in an offense level of 43, subject to a possible 3-level reduction under §2X1.1(b)). Similarly, for example, if an offense involved a kidnapping during which a participant attempted to murder the victim under circumstances that would have constituted first degree murder had death occurred, the offense referenced under subsection (b)(7) would be the offense of first degree murder.

Background: Federal kidnapping cases generally encompass three categories of conduct: limited duration kidnapping where the victim is released unharmed; kidnapping that occurs as part of or to facilitate the commission of another offense (often, sexual assault); and kidnapping for ransom or political demand.

The guideline contains an adjustment for the length of time that the victim was detained. The adjustment recognizes the increased suffering involved in lengthy kidnappings and provides an incentive to release the victim.

An enhancement is provided when the offense is committed for ransom (subsection (b)(1)) or involves another federal, state, or local offense that results in a greater offense level (subsections (b)(7) and (c)(1)).

Section 401 of Public Law 101-647 amended 18 U.S.C. § 1201 to require that courts take into account certain specific offense characteristics in cases involving a victim under eighteen years of age and directed the Commission to include those specific offense characteristics within the guidelines. Where the guidelines did not already take into account the conduct identified by the Act, additional specific offense characteristics have been provided.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 96); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 363); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 445); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 478); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 545).