In New Jersey, the crime of kidnapping occurs when someone seizes another person by coercion or force without that person’s consent and takes them a substantial distance from the location they were found. Often, kidnapping involves other illegal activities such as trafficking, sexual assault, and extortion all of which pose a significant threat of harm to the victim. Therefore, kidnapping carries harsh penalties. If you have recently been charged with kidnapping, you need a talented Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney on your side who can protect your rights.
What are the potential penalties for the crime of kidnapping in New Jersey?
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.” Kidnapping is a serious crime that will likely result in you spending a significant amount of time behind bars. Due to the high risk of harm to the victim, kidnapping is usually classified as a first-degree crime. However, if you release the unharmed victim to a safe place before you are arrested, the offense will be classified as a second-degree crime which carries less severe penalties.
If you were charged with first-degree kidnapping, this offense is punishable by imprisonment of 15 to 30 years. The penalties vary in severity depending on the age of the victims and whether there were any aggravating factors such as sexual assault or human trafficking for financial gain. If the victim of your crime is less than 16 years old and aggravating factors are present, this offense is punishable by imprisonment of 25 years to life. It is imperative to note that this includes the possibility of life with or without parole after 25 years depending on the circumstances of the crime. If you were charged with second-degree kidnapping, this offense is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years. However, if the crime involved the victim being murdered during the kidnapping, you can be charged with first-degree murder.
Furthermore, kidnapping can occur when a parent does not obey a child custody order. If a parent leaves the state or country with their child for a certain amount of time they can face criminal charges. If you kidnap your child by actively keeping them away from their other parent, this interference with custody will be considered a third-degree crime which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment of up to 5 years. If you interfere with your custody order and take your child outside of the United States for more than 245 hours, this offense will be classified as a second-degree crime which is punishable by a fine of up to $150,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years. To avoid criminal charges, it is critical to adhere to custody orders.
If you have been charged with kidnapping in New Jersey, please contact one of our determined and trusted attorneys. With years of experience, you can count on our firm to defend your rights and interests.