Kidnapping Lawyer in Hudson County NJ
As most residents are aware, kidnapping is one of the more serious crimes to be charged with in Hudson County, New Jersey. Indicative of the crimes severity, kidnapping can result in charges for a first or second degree crime. However, the penalties for kidnapping exceed the penalties normally associated with these degrees of crime. Rather than carrying a potential twenty (20) year prison sentence, a first degree crime can run all the way up to a thirty (30) year prison term. Kidnapping charges often stem from parental disputes in Hudson County. A defendant charged with kidnapping may also find themselves facing aggravated assault, criminal restraint, sexual assault or terroristic threats as well. The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Hudson County criminal defense firm, we have over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years or prior prosecuting experience. If you or a loved one has been charge with kidnapping in towns like Harrison, Kearny, Weehawken, North Bergen, Union City or Jersey City, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. If you would like to set up a free consultation, please contact our Jersey City office directly at (201) 309-1800.
Jersey City NJ Kidnapping Attorney: N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(a)
In Hudson County, kidnapping is subdivided into two categories; (1) was the kidnapping was for a ransom, reward, or as a hostage purpose or (2) was the kidnapping for other purposes. Accordingly, the elements of the offense and its penalties will fluctuate depending on which category the particular charge falls under.
To convict a defendant of kidnapping under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(a), the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Unlawfully removed 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.
To convict a defendant of kidnapping under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(b), the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
Unlawfully removed another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found,or if he unlawfully confined another for a substantial period, with any of the following purposes:
- To facilitate commission of any crime or flight thereafter;
- To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;
- To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or
- To permanently deprive a parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.
In determining what constitutes an “unlawful” removal or confinement, you need not look further than N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(d). Pursuant to this subsection, a removal or confinement is unlawful if it is accomplished by force, threat, or deception. Additionally, it would be unlawful removal or confinement if the victim is under the age of 14, or the victim is incompetent, and the defendant did not have the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare. For purposes of kidnapping, one is confined for a substantial period if that confinement is criminally significant in the sense of being more than merely incidental to the underlying crime, and that determination is made with reference not only to the duration of the confinement, but also to the enhanced risk of harm resulting from the confinement and isolation of the victim or others; that enhanced risk must not be trivial.
What is the Grade of a Kidnapping Offense?
Generally, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree. However, the charge can be downgraded to a second degree offense if the victim is released unharmed and in a safe place prior to apprehension. It should be noted that emotional harm constitutes a harm under the statute.
What are the Penalties for a Kidnapping Conviction?
If convicted of kidnapping in the first degree, the defendant is subject to a term of imprisonment between fifteen (15) and thirty (30) years in a New Jersey State Penitentiary. The term of incarceration increases to twenty-five (25) years to life if the victim is less than sixteen (16) years old and a sexual assault or contact is committed, or the victim is used in pornographic production or the defendant delivers or sells the victim for financial gain. In addition to imprisonment, the defendant is subject to a $200,000 fine.
If convicted of kidnapping in the second degree, the defendant is subject to a term of imprisonment between five (5) and ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison and a $150,000 fine.
Both of these crimes carry a presumption of a custodial sentence, though this presumption may be overcome with strong legal counsel.
Kidnapping Lawyers in Hudson County
The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has eight criminal defense lawyers in staff, making our office one largest criminal defense firms in the State let alone in Hudson County. Our team of Hudson County NJ kidnapping lawyers are prepared to aggressively fight to protect your freedom. If you would like to discuss your matter any further, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800.