I was arrested for Kidnapping in NJ – Kidnapping Charges 2C:13-1 in NJ – What are the penalties for kidnapping NJ
“In New Jersey, kidnapping is considered a violent crime. Our firm knows all of the defenses that can potentially help you avoid some very serious kidnapping penalties.”
Kidnapping typically refers to any instance in which a person prevents someone else from leaving a particular place for the purpose of facilitating a crime, inflicting injury, or terrorizing the victim. Kidnapping is one of the most serious criminal charges in New Jersey, and, depending on the circumstances, it can bear a punishment of 30 years to life in prison. It’s important to know the grading of your crime, as second degree and first degree penalties are completely different.
Statistically, hiring an attorney might be your only hope of beating the charge and avoiding serious prison time.
The Tormey Law Firm is a team of aggressive criminal defense attorneys, including a former NJ prosecutor, dedicated to giving you the best possible defense and keeping you out of prison. We have extensive experience handling violent crime cases, including kidnapping, stalking, harassment, and assault.
Because we have a prosecutor on staff, we’ve got a unique understanding of the kinds of arguments that the other side will make against you. We’ve also developed advanced defense strategies that we can use to help you beat the case.
Give us a call for a free consultation, and please continue reading this page for additional information about kidnapping charges in New Jersey.
Kidnapping in NJ is an indictable criminal offense that is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1, which states that a person may not unlawfully remove or confine someone else for the purpose of getting a ransom. More broadly, the statute also stipulates that a person may not confine someone else for the purpose of facilitating a crime, aiding an escape, inflicting bodily injury, or terrorizing the victim. This statute can apply in a lot of situations.
If the victim is released unharmed, the kidnapping is classified as a second degree crime. In those situations, the potential sentence is 5 to 10 years. However, the violent nature of a kidnapping offense means that this is usually a first degree felony, which carries enhanced penalties of between 15 and 30 years in New Jersey State Prison. Believe me: you do not want to spend that much time behind bars.
It’s a first degree crime if the victim is safely freed by someone other than the kidnapper. This usually happens when the victim escapes. It can also be classified as a first degree crime if the victim is harmed during the kidnapping. This charge can lead to a period of incarceration of life in NJ State Prison, with a minimum term of incarceration of 25 years in prison before the convicted offender becomes eligible for parole.
On a kidnapping charge, NJ prosecutors will not hesitate to invoke the No Early Release Act (NERA), meaning that a convicted defendant MUST serve no less than 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. You’re going to want an attorney who can anticipate this prosecution strategy and combat it.
If the victim is a minor who was sexually assaulted, the punishment includes a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life.
Although we tend to think of kidnapping as always involving hostages and elaborate plots to get a million dollars in ransom money, the truth is that you don’t have to steal the Lindbergh baby in order to be charged with kidnapping in New Jersey. It can happen as a result of an argument that escalates. It can even happen during a custody dispute. Bottom line: taking Lil’ Johnny to soccer practice could take YOU to prison for a very long time.
There are defenses available to a person charged with kidnapping. One defense is that the person had a reasonable belief that the kidnapping was necessary to protect the victim from a dangerous situation. Another defense, which tends to arise in a custody-related kidnapping, is that the person reasonably believed that a parent had consented to the taking.
However, because the stakes are so high, these defenses are best left to a professional who is familiar with courtroom procedure in New Jersey.
Call the Tormey Law Firm for a free consultation about your kidnapping charge.
We know how to successfully fight your charge, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that you avoid the most serious kidnapping penalties. With experienced criminal trial lawyers on staff, we are fully prepared to go to battle to get you a win in the courtroom.
Call us today so that we can begin examining the specific details of your case and devise a strategy that will work for you.
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1 – Kidnapping Statute
a. Holding for ransom, reward or as a hostage. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from the place where he is found or if he unlawfully confines another with the purpose of holding that person for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.
b. Holding for other purposes. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period, with any of the following purposes:
(1) To facilitate commission of any crime or flight thereafter;
(2) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;
(3) To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or
(4) To permanently deprive a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.
c. Grading of kidnapping. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, a person may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 and 30 years. If the actor releases the victim unharmed and in a safe place prior to apprehension, it is a crime of the second degree.
(2) Kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, an actor shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court, if the victim of the kidnapping is less than 16 years of age and if during the kidnapping:
(a) A crime under N.J.S.2C:14-2 or subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 is committed against the victim;
(b) A crime under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 is committed against the victim; or
(c) The actor sells or delivers the victim to another person for pecuniary gain other than in circumstances which lead to the return of the victim to a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the general supervision of the victim.
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph shall be either a term of 25 years during which the actor shall not be eligible for parole, or a specific term between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which the actor shall serve 25 years before being eligible for parole; provided, however, that the crime of kidnapping under this paragraph and underlying aggravating crimes listed in subparagraph (a), (b) or (c) of this paragraph shall merge for purposes of sentencing. If the actor is convicted of the criminal homicide of a victim of a kidnapping under the provisions of chapter 11, any sentence imposed under provisions of this paragraph shall be served consecutively to any sentence imposed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 11.
d. “Unlawful” removal or confinement. A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this section and of sections 2C:13-2 and 2C:13-3, if it is accomplished by force, threat or deception, or, in the case of a person who is under the age of 14 or is incompetent, if it is accomplished without the consent of a parent, guardian or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.
e. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:
(1) The actor reasonably believed that the action was necessary to preserve the victim from imminent danger to his welfare. However, no defense shall be available pursuant to this subsection if the actor does not, 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 in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families;
(2) The actor reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the victim was consented to by a parent, or by an authorized State agency; or
(3) The victim, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition by his parent and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the victim.
f. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section that a parent having the right of custody reasonably believed he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent, provided that the parent having custody, as soon as reasonably practicable:
(1) Gives notice of the victim’s location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families; or
(2) Commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.
g. As used in subsections e. and f. of this section, “parent” means a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of a victim.