New Jersey Criminal Kidnapping Law
We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1; New Jersey criminal kidnapping complaints and indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.
New Jersey criminal kidnapping law has two classifications.
In the first type of kidnapping the state must prove that defendant's purpose was to hold the victim for ransom, reward or as a shield or hostage.
Here, the state must prove that the defendant removed the victim from the place where the victim was found or the defendant confined the victim.
The removal or confinement must be done by force, threat or deception.
Hence, the state must prove that defendant removed or confined the victim; by force, threat or deception; with a purpose to hold the victim for ransom, reward or as a hostage or shield.
In the second type of kidnapping under New Jersey criminal kidnapping law, the state must prove that defendant's purpose was to facilitate the commission of any crime or inflict bodily injury or to terrorize the victim or another person or to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
Here, the state must prove that defendant either removed a person from the victim's place of residence or business or a substantial distance from where the victim was found or confined a person for a substantial period of time; by force, threat or deception and with either a purpose to facilitate the commission of any crime or flight or to inflict bodily injury or to terrorize the victim or another or to interfere with the performance of any governmental political function.
Kidnapping is a crime of the first degree subjecting defendant to a term of imprisonment between fifteen and thirty years.
The term of incarceration increases from 25 years to life if the victim is less than sixteen years old and a sexual assault or contact is committed, or the victim is used in pornographic production or the defendant delivers or sells the victim for financial gain.
It is an affirmative defense - defendant bears the burden of proof by preponderance of the evidence - if the defendant reasonably believed that the action was reasonably necessary to preserve the victim from imminent danger to his welfare.
However, defendant must as soon as reasonably practicable but in no event more than 24 hours after taking a victim under his protection give notice of the victim's location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor where the victim resided or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Human services.
It is also an affirmative defense that the defendant reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the victim was consented to by a parent or by an authorized state agency.
A third affirmative defense is that the victim at the time of the taking or concealment was not less than fourteen years old and was taken by his parent and was without a purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the victim.
In addition, there is an affirmative defense which is only available to a parent having the right to custody of the child.
That parent must reasonably believe that he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent provided that the parent having custody as soon as reasonably practicable give notice of the victim's location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor where the victim resided or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Human services; or the parent commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.
Under New Jersey criminal kidnapping law defendant's act can be downgraded to a crime of the second degree if three conditions are satisfied:
victim is released unharmed;
in a safe place;
prior to apprehension.
If you have any questions for a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey about a New Jersey criminal kidnapping charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.