top of page

Hostage Taking (Kidnap to Evade Arrest)
PC 210.5 Law & Defense

Information on the crime of taking a hostage, also known as false imprisonment for the purpose of protection from arrest or use as a shield, if found at California penal code section 210.5.

In short, taking a hostage means to take another person as a prisoner to avoid arrest or capture, and when the victim is taken as a hostage the victim is placed in greater danger of physical harm. Using a hostage as a shield qualifies as increasing the danger to the hostage.

Example: When a defendant is pulled over for an investigation related to a warrant for arrest for the driver, but the defendant will neither open the vehicle door for the officer upon request, nor allow a passenger to exit the vehicle, the defendant could be charged with hostage taking. This is because the defendant in this situation is using the victim to protect against the vehicle door being forcibly opened by the officer as it could result in injury to the passenger. The same result would occur where a defendant will not release a child or baby from his or her arms to avoid a physical arrest.

PC 210.5 Law

PC 210.5 Every person who commits the offense of false imprisonment against a person for purposes of protection from arrest, which substantially increases the risk of harm to the victim, or for purposes of using the person as a shield is guilty of taking a hostage.


To find the defendant guilty of the crime of hostage taking the district attorney must prove all of the following:

  • The defendant was faced with the threat of imminent arrest

  • The defendant restrained another person by force or threats to protect himself or herself from the threat of imminent arrest

  • When the defendant restrained another person to avoid arrest he or she made the victim move to another place or forced the victim to remain in the same place

  • When the defendant moved or confined the person restrained it substantially increased the risk of harm to the other person, or the defendant used the other person as a human shield

PC 210.5 Sentence

Hostage taking is classified as a felony. If found guilty the defendant may face up to eight years in prison. In some cases the defendant may qualify for a probation sentence, a split sentence, or a suspended sentence.


Note: A split sentence is a jail sentence that is partially served in jail and partially served on house arrest (out of jail), a suspended jail sentence is jail sentence that is never served unless the defendant violates some condition of his or her out of custody sentence.Whether or not probation will be granted upon any conviction for PC 210.5 depends largely on the facts of the case as well the defendant's criminal history.

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is period in which the defendant is monitored by a a probation officer (felony cases). Probation sentences are allowed in hostage taking cases, but it is not guaranteed. Whether or not the defendant will be granted a probation sentence after a conviction for PC 210.5 depends on many factors, including the terms of any plea agreement, the defendant's criminal history, and the facts of the case.

PC 210.5 is not considered to be a serious or violent offense under California Law; therefore, PC 210.5 is not considered a strike offense under California's Three Strikes Sentencing Law. If found guilty of hostage taking the defendant will be entitled to earn up to fifty percent credit off of his or her jail or prison sentence for good behavior while in jail or on work release.

CIMT: The crime of hostage taking is likely considered a crime involving moral turpitude, which means the that if convicted of PC 210.5, the defendant could face collateral consequences related to professional licensing or immigration.

In addition to a prison sentence, punishment for hostage taking convictions include: increased penalty for future crimes, possibility of facing civil lawsuits, fines, restraining orders, loss of the right to own firearm, and more.

Defenses to PC 210.5

Common defense to the crime of hostage taking include: consent to movement or confinement by the alleged victim, insufficient evidence to prove that the defendant intended to use the victim as a human shield or use the victim to avoid arrest, mistake of fact, coerced confession, insanity, and more.

If you or a loved one is charged with hostage taking, or PC 210.5, contact our criminal defense attorneys today and without delay. Our criminal attorneys have successfully defended hundreds of misdemeanor and felony crimes. There is no fee for consultations and our attorneys are available every day of the week to answer your questions and discuss your defense options. Call today!


Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Hostage Taking (Kidnap to Evade Arrest)

Code: PC 210.5 (CalCrim No. 2735)

Wobbler: No. PC 210.5 is not a wobbler. This means that PC 210.5 is only charged as a felony.​


Incarceration:Felony PC 210.5 jail sentence range: 3, 5, or 8 years.

Probation: Probation may be available in PC 210.5 cases (assuming that other crimes or enhancements that might bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

PC 1170(h)): Yes. PC 210.5 is subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any jail or prison sentence may be:

  • Split (half in-custody / half out-of-custody)

  • Suspended (possibly never served)

  • Served in county jail (not state prison)

Strike: PC 210.5 is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 210.5 is likely a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:

  • Immigration problems

  • Professional Licensing problems

  • Impeachment on credibility


Firearms: Felony PC 210.5 convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm. Misdemeanors prohibit the defendant from owning or possessing a firearm for 10 years. 

Bail: $250,000 (San Bernardino County)

Hostage Taking PC 210.5 Criminal defense lawyer attorney sentence punishment penalty jail prison misdemeanor felony Redlands Yucaipa san Bernardino rialto colton fontana rancho Cucamonga Ontario Victorville highland Hesperia loma linda se habla espanol Spanish abogado hs California ca crime penal code

Loma Linda, Ontario, Yucaipa, Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Fontana, Upland, Hesperia, Chino, Victorville, Highland, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga

bottom of page