Bergen County NJ Kidnapping Lawyers

Kidnapping is a very serious offense in New Jersey and can have devastating impacts on not only your life but on your loved ones as well if you are convicted. The governing statute in New Jersey for kidnapping is N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1.  What started out as a simply prank can quickly escalate into a very serious situation. Fortunately, the legislatures have carved out two lesser include offense, false imprisonment and criminal restraint. As you will see, this offense has far less severe consequences if you are convicted. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has seven criminal defense attorneys on staff, making our office one of the largest criminal defense firms in the state let alone Bergen County.  In addition, we have over 100 years of combined experience on staff.  If you or a someone you know is facing kidnapping charges in towns like Lodi, Saddle Brook, Ramsey, Teaneck, Cliffside Park or any other town for that matter we can help. Here is some important information regarding the offense of kidnapping.

Kidnapping Defense Lawyers in Fort Lee NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1

Required elements when the offense was committed for the purpose of  either: Ransom, Reward, Shield or Hostage Kidnapping:

  1. The defendant either removed the alleged victim from a  place where the said victim was prior to the alleged kidnapping or the defendant confined the victim to a certain place;
    • {It is important to note here that, any removal or confinementno matter how minor, is sufficient for this type of kidnapping. All that is required is some prove of  minor interference with the victim}
  2. The said removal or confinement was accomplished by some form of unlawful means; &
    • {Unlawful means will be found if it is determined that the removal or confined was accomplished by force, threat or deception}
  3. Lastly, the defendant acted with a purpose to hold the victim for ransom, reward or as a hostage or shield.

Required elements when the offense was committed for non-ransom purposes;

  1. The defendant either removed or confined a person;
    • {If it alleged conduct was a “removal”, then the state must prove the said removal was either from the victim’s place of residence or business or a substantial distance from where the victim was found & if it was a “confinement”, then it must be for a substantial period of time}
  2. That the defendant acted unlawfully; &
  3. Lastly that defendant acted with either a purpose to facilitate the commission of any crime or flight thereafter; or to inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another; or to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function or had a purpose to permanently deprive a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

Degrees & Applicable Penalties:

Kidnapping is typically a crime of the First Degree, unless the state agrees to downgrade the charges to a second degree.  A defendant may face up to twenty (20) years in a New Jersey state prison if the charge is of the first degree.  If the charge is downgraded to a second degree offense, the defendant may face up to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State prison. Probably the most important question one may have is how does a kidnapping charge get downgraded to a crime of the second degree. Well that can only happen if  three conditions are satisfied:

        1. That the defendant released the victim unharmed;
        2. That the victim was be released in a safe place; and
        3. The said release occurred prior to their apprehension.
If the defendant invokes his rights to have a jury trial on a kidnapping charge, the Judge must submit to the jury the issue of whether or not the kidnapping is a crime of the first or second degree. If defense can put forth some evidence from which the jury might find that the victim was released unharmed and in a safe place prior to apprehension the defendants exposer will be reduced significantly.  In addition, the burden will be upon the State to  convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was not released unharmed in a safe place prior to the defendant’s apprehension.
Releasing a defendant unharmed is not limited to the simple fact that the victim was released with no bodily injury. The term “harm” will include emotional harm as well.

Elmwood Park NJ Kidnapping Attorneys

As you can tell kidnapping is a very serious offense and carries extremely harsh penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with kidnapping in Bergen County or any other county for that matter it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense firm about your options. If you have any further questions please contact any one of our Bergen County Offices for a free initial consultation.