(a) Any person who unlawfully restrains another person with the intent:
(1) To hold another person for ransom, reward, or concession;
(2) To transport another person with the intent to inflict bodily injury or to terrorize the victim or another person; or
(3) To use another person as a shield or hostage, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be punished by confinement by the division of corrections for life, and, notwithstanding the provisions of article twelve, chapter sixty-two of this code, shall not be eligible for parole.
(b) The following exceptions shall apply to the penalty contained in subsection (a):
(1) A jury may, in their discretion, recommend mercy, and if such recommendation is added to their verdict, such person shall be eligible for parole in accordance with the provisions of said article twelve;
(2) if such person pleads guilty, the court may, in its discretion, provide that such person shall be eligible for parole in accordance with the provisions of said article twelve, and, if the court so provides, such person shall be eligible for parole in accordance with the provisions of said article twelve in the same manner and with like effect as if such person had been found guilty by the verdict of a jury and the jury had recommended mercy;
(3) in all cases where the person against whom the offense is committed is returned, or is permitted to return, alive, without bodily harm having been inflicted upon him, but after ransom, money or other thing, or any concession or advantage of any sort has been paid or yielded, the punishment shall be confinement by the division of corrections for a definite term of years not less than twenty nor more than fifty; or
(4) in all cases where the person against whom the offense is committed is returned, or is permitted to return, alive, without bodily harm having been inflicted upon him or her, but without ransom, money or other thing, or any concession or advantage of any sort having been paid or yielded, the punishment shall be confinement by the division of corrections for a definite term of years not less than ten nor more than thirty.
(c) For purposes of this section: "To use another as a hostage" means to seize or detain and threaten to kill or injure another in order to compel, a third person or a governmental organization to do or abstain from doing any legal act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the person detained.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a violation of this section is committed by a family member of a minor abducted or held hostage and he or she is not motivated by monetary purposes, but rather intends to conceal, take, remove the child or refuse to return the child to his or her lawful guardian in the belief, mistaken or not, that it is in the child's interest to do so, he or she shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, be confined in a correctional facility for not less than one or more than five years or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.
(e) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, where a law-enforcement agency of this state or a political subdivision thereof receives a complaint that a violation of the provisions of this section has occurred, the receiving law-enforcement agency shall notify any other law-enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the offense, including, but not limited to, the state police and each agency so notified, shall cooperate in the investigation forthwith.
(f) It shall be a defense to a violation of subsection (d) of
this section, that the accused's action was necessary to preserve
the welfare of the minor child and the accused promptly reported
his or her actions to a person with lawful custody of the minor, to
law-enforcement or to Child Protective Services division of the
Department of Health and Human Resources.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.