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The Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction

The Difference Between Kidnapping and Abduction

Both serious offenses, kidnapping and abduction are two separate crimes even though they often get lumped together. It’s important, however, to understand the differences between the two and the consequences that come from them. Read more below about the difference between kidnapping and abduction, and then, we’ll touch briefly on the two big factors you should remember when comparing the two.


In the most basic sense, kidnapping means taking another person against their will to an undisclosed location. Although the title may cause some confusion, this crime does not have a minimum age—the authorities also consider adults taken against their will as kidnapped. Someone may kidnap another for ransom or to further another crime. Oregon has two different categories for kidnapping: first degree and second degree. Below, you’ll find the specific laws for each degree.

Kidnapping in the Second Degree

The less serious of the two, kidnapping in the second degree is considered a Class B felony and a Measure 11 crime. According to ORS 163.225, an individual commits the crime of kidnapping in the second degree if the person:

  1. Takes the person from one place to another, or
  2. Secretly confines the person in a place where the person is not likely to be found.

It helps the prosecution’s case against the defendant if the person taken is under 16 years of age, if the defendant is a relative of the victim, and if the defendant wanted to control the victim.

Kidnapping in the First Degree

Oregon considers kidnapping in the first degree a Class A felony and a Measure 11 crime. According to ORS 163.235, a person who violates the statutes of kidnapping in the second degree with any of the following purposes will be charged with kidnapping in the first degree:

  1. To compel any person to pay or deliver money or property as ransom
  2. To hold the victim as a shield or hostage
  3. To cause physical injury to the victim
  4. To terrorize the victim or another person; or
  5. To further the commission or attempted commission of any of the following crimes against the victim
    1. Rape in the first degree
    2. Sodomy in the first degree
    3. Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree

Child Abduction/Custodial Interference

Abduction is called a few different things across the nation, and Oregon calls the crime Custodial Interference. In common law, abduction refers to a person taking away another person by persuasion, fraud, or open force. Abduction also specifically means the abductor unlawfully interferred with a family relationship, such as a child getting taken from their parent.

According to ORS 163.257, a person commits custodial interference in the first degree if the person violates custodial interference in the second degree, and:

  1. Causes the person taken, enticed, or kept from the lawful custodian or in violation of a valid join custody order to be removed from the state; or
  2. Exposes that person a substantial risk of illness of physical injury

Oregon considers custodial interference in the first degree a Class B felony.

Key Differences Between Kidnapping and Abduction

The main difference you should understand about the two crimes is that kidnapping means the victim does not need to be a child. Defendants, however, will receive harsher punishments if the victim is under 14 years of age in a kidnapping. Most people charged with abduction or custodial interference are members of the child’s family, whereas kidnappers can be anyone.

If you’ve been charged with a kidnapping or custodial interference crime, turn to Jared Justice, a criminal defense, DUII, and prostitution attorney in Portland, Oregon. He can help you build a case that will keep you from facing the penalties of these charges. Contact him now!

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