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What Are New Jersey’s Kidnapping Laws?

Kidnapping is a very serious crime that can be committed for a number of different reasons. For instance, some kidnappers commit the crime in conjunction with other illegal activities such as extortion, trafficking, or sexual assault. In New Jersey, kidnapping is defined as unlawfully removing another person from a place of residence, business, or a substantial distance from the location where they were found; or holding a person for ransom, reward, or as a shield or hostage. If you would like to learn more, or if you were charged, our experienced Bergen County criminal defense attorney is on your side.

What is the consequence of confining individuals for unlawful purposes?

New Jersey law prohibits detaining another individual for any of the following reasons:

  • To facilitate the commission of any crime or flight after;
  • To impose 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 another lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

What are the different degrees of kidnapping?

In New Jersey, kidnapping is a crime in the first degree unless the actor dismisses the unharmed victim to a safe place prior to being arrested; in that case, the offense is a second-degree crime.

  • First Degree Kidnapping: This offense is punishable by imprisonment of 15 to 30 years. If the victim is less than 16 years old or where there are aggravating factors (such as sexual assault or selling or delivering the victim for financial gain), the penalty is a prison term of 25 years to life, with or without the possibility of parole after 25 years.
  • Second Degree Kidnapping: This offense is punishable by 5-10 years in prison.

It is important to note that if a murder happens during the kidnapping, the defendant can be charged with first-degree murder under the felony-murder rule. Give our firm a call today to speak with a dedicated member of our legal team.

What are the potential defenses against kidnapping in New Jersey?

There are several different defenses that an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can use against a kidnapping charge. Some of the most common include:

  • Consent
  • Duress
  • Mistake of fact
  • Insanity

Furthermore, an affirmative defense can be used if the actor reasonably believed that the action was required to stop direct danger to the victim’s welfare, then this defense may be available if the actor gives reasonable notice to the authorities. To learn more about this offense, do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today. We are on your side no matter what you are facing.



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