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Kidnapping Lawyer in New Jersey

November 20, 2020 Criminal Lawyers

Kidnapping Lawyer in New Jersey

As most citizens are aware, kidnapping is one of the more serious offenses to be charged with in the state of New Jersey. Indicative of the crime’s seriousness, kidnapping can result in charges for a first or second degree offense. However, the penalties for kidnapping exceed the penalties typically associated with these degrees of crime. Instead of carrying a potential twenty (20) year prison sentence, a first degree crime can go all the way up to a thirty (30) year prison term. Kidnapping charges frequently stem from parental disputes in Hudson County. A defendant charged with kidnapping could also find themselves looking at aggravated assault, criminal restraint, sexual assault or terroristic threats. Spodek Law Group is an experienced criminal defense firm.  We have over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including more than twenty-five years or prior prosecuting experience. If you or your loved one has been charged with kidnapping in towns like Kearny, Harrison, Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen or Jersey City, Spodek Law Group can help. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact our offices right away.

New Jersey Kidnapping Law: N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(a)

In New Jersey, kidnapping is subdivided into two categories;

  1. kidnapping for a ransom, reward, or as a hostage purpose or
  2. kidnapping for other purposes.

Accordingly, the elements of the crime and its punishment fluctuate depending on which category the particular charge falls under.

To convict an accused kidnapper under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(a), the Prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Unlawfully removed another from the place where he is found or if he unlawfully confines another,
  2. With the purpose of holding that person for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.

To get a conviction on a kidnapping  charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(b), the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

Unlawfully removed another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found, or if he unlawfully confined another for a substantial period, with any of the following purposes:

  • To facilitate commission of any crime or flight thereafter;
  • To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;
  • To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or
  • To permanently deprive a parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

To be clear about what constitutes an “unlawful” removal or confinement, you need to consult the wording in section N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(d). According to this subsection, a removal or confinement is unlawful if it is done by force, threat, or deception. On top of that, it would be unlawful removal or confinement if the victim is under the age of 14 or an incompetent person of any age, and the defendant did not have the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of his or her welfare. For purposes of a kidnapping charge, the person is confined for a substantial period if that confinement is criminally significant in the sense of being more than merely incidental to the underlying crime, and that determination is made with reference not only to the length of time of the confinement, but also to the enhanced risk of harm that may result from the confinement and isolation of the victim or others; that enhanced risk must not be trivial.

What Grade is a Kidnapping Offense?

In general, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree. That said, the charge can be downgraded to a second degree offense if the victim was released unharmed and in a safe place before apprehension. It is worthy of note that emotional harm constitutes a harm under the statute.

Possible Penalties for a Kidnapping Conviction in New Jersey

If you get convicted of kidnapping in the first degree, you are subject to a term of imprisonment between fifteen (15) and thirty (30) years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary. The term of imprisonment increases to twenty-five (25) years to life if the victim is younger than sixteen (16) years old and

  • a sexual assault or contact was committed, or
  • the victim was used in any pornographic production or
  • the defendant delivers or sells the victim for financial gain.

In addition to incarceration, you would be ordered to pay a $200,000 fine.

If you get convicted of kidnapping in the second degree, you are subject to a term of incarceration between five (5) and ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison and $150,000 in fines.

Both of these offenses carry a presumption of a custodial sentence, although this presumption could be overcome with strong legal counsel.

Spodek Law Group has tough criminal defense lawyers on staff. Our team of New Jersey kidnapping lawyers are prepared to aggressively battle to protect your freedom. If you would like to speak about your matter any further, please contact our offices for your free consultation today.

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