New Jersey Kidnapping Charges - N.J.S. 2C:13-1

Parsippany Criminal Defense Attorney

According to the Model Penal Code (a set of exemplary criminal rules set forth by the American Law Institute), kidnapping is committed when anyone unlawfully and non-consensually moves someone and holds them for certain purposes.

Such purposes may involve obtaining a ransom or reward, or for facilitating the commission of a felony (e.g. bank robbery or burglary), a flight after a commission of a felony, or terrorizing or inflicting bodily harm on the victim or a third person, or interfering with a political or a government function. Kidnapping can also occur in connection with a child custody dispute, in which case it is commonly referred to as parental kidnapping.

Kidnapping Laws in New Jersey

In the state of New Jersey, kidnapping is covered under Section 2C:13 – of the New Jersey Code. Section 2C:13-1 defines kidnapping as: holding someone hostage, or for ransom or for reward. A person is guilty of kidnapping when he or she unlawfully removes another from the place where they were found and unlawfully confines them with the purpose of using them as a shield, holding them for ransom, for reward, or as a hostage.

Under § 2C:13-1 (b), a person is also guilty of kidnapping if he or she unlawfully removes another from their home, or place of business, or a substantial distance from where they were found, or if he or she unlawfully confines another for a substantial period of time for any of the following purposes:

  1. To further the commission of any crime or flight thereafter; or
  2. To terrorize or inflict bodily injury on the victim or another; or
  3. To permanently deprive a parent, or legal guardian or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim; or
  4. To interfere with any government or political function.

Under this Section, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction; the defendant will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 15 to 30 years. If the perpetrator released the victim in a safe place prior to apprehension and unharmed, then it is considered a crime in the second degree.

Under § 2C:13-1 (c), if the victim was under the age of 16 during the kidnapping and if during the kidnapping a crime under N.J.S. 2C:14-2 or N.J.S.2C:14-3, or N.J.S.2C:24-4 was committed against the victim, or if the perpetrator sells or delivers the victim to another person for financial gain other than circumstances which lead to the return of the victim to a parent or lawful guardian, then kidnapping is a crime in the first degree.

Under this section, the perpetrator will be subject to a term of 25 years imprisonment for which they will not be eligible for parole, or a for a term of 25 years to life imprisonment, of which the actor must serve 25 years of their sentence before being eligible for parole.

Defense Strategies for Kidnapping Charges

In order for the defense to prove that a kidnapping did not occur, they must prove there is clear and convincing evidence that:

  • The perpetrator reasonably believed that their action was necessary in order to protect the victim from imminent danger; or
  • At the time of the taking or concealment, the victim was under the age of 14 years old, was taken on their own volition by their parent and without the purpose of committing a crime against the victim; or
  • In regards to a parent with a right to custody reasonably believed that he or she was fleeing from imminent danger from the other parent; or
  • The actor gives notice of the victim's location to the local police where the victim resides, or to the county prosecutor where the victim resides, or to the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families; or
  • The actor commences a child custody action with the appropriate court.

Get Help from The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C.

A kidnapping conviction can carry a lengthy prison sentence of 15 to 30 years; therefore, if you are currently facing kidnapping charges in New Jersey, it is critical that you contact a Parsippany criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C. to discuss the details of your case.

I understand quite well how an alleged victim can lie about the circumstance of the kidnapping incident, or in other cases the situation may involve a case of domestic violence where one parent flees in an attempt to protect their child from further harm. In any case, kidnapping is criminalized under state and federal laws. When facing charges of this nature, you need a lawyer who is well-versed in both state and federal crimes and who has extensive experience working in the federal court system.

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