If you are accused of kidnapping in NJ, you are going to be facing felony charges. Such charges can carry heavy penalties, so you need to be sure that you have someone on your side who can help you fight for the best possible outcome. You should talk to a Bergen County violent crimes attorney from our firm.
Kidnapping is considered a violent crime in this state. The punishments are harsh as a result, even if the accused has no history of criminal behavior. If you are accused of kidnapping someone aged 16 or older, you will be charged with a first-degree felony and could spend 15 to 30 years in jail. If the victim is released and unharmed before you are arrested, that is a second-degree felony punishable by up to five or 10 years in prison.
The punishments can get even more severe though. If the alleged kidnapping victim was under the age of 16, you could be sentenced to prison for 25 years to life. You can also face worse penalties if you allegedly hurt the victim or if you went across state lines, triggering federal charges.
Most of the time, people charged with kidnapping in NJ have taken someone against their will to use as a hostage or a bargaining chip for ransom. New Jersey can also charge a noncustodial parent who takes their own child somewhere without permission of the parent who has custody. This is usually called parental kidnapping, and those convicted may have to pay up to $150,000 in fines and spend five to 10 years in jail.
The state of New Jersey has passed the No Early Release Act, or NERA, and that can affect anyone who has been charged with kidnapping in NJ. Because it is considered a violent crime, a defendant convicted of kidnapping must serve 85% or more of their sentence before they are even eligible for parole. So if you are sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping, you must serve 21 and one-quarter years before parole can even be a topic of conversation.
Your lawyer will look at your unique circumstances and do their best to figure out how to defend you from these charges. Common defenses include:
Kidnapping charges need to be taken seriously, so make sure that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. When you contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway, we can tell you more about what we can do to help you with your defense.