Middlesex County Kidnapping Defense Lawyers
Kidnapping in New Jersey is a serious crime of violence. If you or someone you love has been charged with this offense in Middlesex County or elsewhere in the state, you could be facing up to 30 years in New Jersey State Prison. Due to the extremity of the penalties that can be imposed, you must take a kidnapping charge seriously. Contacting a criminal defense attorney who has experience fighting such charges can make an incredible difference in the final outcome of your case. At Proetta & Oliver, our lawyers use meticulous investigative processes and long-earned judgment when going through the evidence against our clients and evaluating the merits of the state’s case. We will leave no stone unturned to challenge your kidnapping charges, minimize your risk where possible, educate you on your exposure, and help you determine the best course of action. Whether your arrest on a kidnapping charge happened in New Brunswick, Edison, Carteret, Metuchen, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, South Brunswick, or another town in the Middlesex County NJ area, contact us today at (732) 659-9600 for the help you need. A knowledgeable lawyer on our team will discuss your case in more detail with you and consultations are provided free of charge.
What is a Kidnapping Charge N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1?
Kidnapping is many things under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1. For instance, you may be charged with kidnapping for removing someone from one place to another with the purpose of holding them hostage in exchange for ransom or for the perpetrator’s own protection. To be found guilty, it must be proven that you unlawfully removed someone from one location, confined the person unlawfully, and used them for your own gain, namely as protection (human shield) or reward (financial gain). Seeking financial gain or personal protection is not the only motive for kidnapping and you can be charged with the offense in other situations involving different facts. For instance, it is also a crime of kidnapping to remove a person from a residential location or a business and thereafter, hold the person in another location with ill intentions. To be found guilty under this provision, the state must prove that you removed the person for the purposes of: completing a crime or flight after a crime, causing bodily injury to another or terrorizing the victim, stopping a political function or function of the government; or, causing the parent or guardian of a child to be forever deprived of the child by removing him or her from the parent’s custody.
What is the Punishment for Kidnapping in New Jersey?
If you are charged with a kidnapping offense, you are facing conviction for one of the highest level crimes permitted in the state of New Jersey, carrying equally substantial consequences. In many cases, kidnapping is a first degree crime. Being charged with this means that you are charged with the most serious degree of crime under NJ state law. Ordinarily for first degree crimes, the judge can sentence you to state prison for a period ranging from 10 20 years. However, in cases involving kidnapping, the judge is authorized to put you behind bars for 15 to 30 years, with no possibility that you can receive probation or a non-custodial sentence.
Under some circumstances, kidnapping may be charged as a second degree crime, which is one degree less than a first degree crime. A second degree felony offense is charged when the victim is released or delivered unharmed by the perpetrator. Generally, for this type of kidnapping offense, a sentence of 5 to 10 years can be given. With crimes of the first and second degree, there is a presumption of incarceration, which means it is almost certain that you will go to state prison if convicted of the crime in question, unless the charges are reduced or your attorney assists you with achieving another more favorable result. To make matters worse, in some cases involving the No Early Release Act (NERA), you may be required to serve 85% of your sentence before you can even be considered for parole.
Moreover, if you are accused of kidnapping a child and committing a sex offense against the child, or transferring the child to another location for financial gain, the court may sentence you to between 25 years and life in prison, and the 25 years must be completed before you can ever see the light of day outside the prison walls. Also, if the person dies and you are charged with homicide, the sentences for both crimes must be served consecutively, meaning terms must be served back to back, not at the same time.
Defending a Kidnapping Case in NJ
To be convicted of a crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1, the state must demonstrate your intention to kidnap a person, but this isn’t as easy one might think. Kidnapping is not always as it appears in movies and a teen or child isn’t always abducted to bilk millions from the devastated wealthy parents. Often, there is more to the story than is being told by the victim or police. It commonly happens in custody disputes, failed romantic relationships, or impromptu decisions made during botched robberies. Because the charges often involve people you know or those with whom you have a volatile relationship, the alleged facts are not always the truth and there are defenses that seasoned defense lawyers can assert when litigating your case in court. Just as you would not ask a carpenter to fix your broken arm, you are best advised not to represent yourself or to enlist help from a lawyer without specific expertise in the area of criminal law.
Our lawyers will review your case and determine if the allegations fit the elements of the crime. In keeping with this sentiment, the discovery is carefully reviewed to spot any available defenses such as removing the child without any intent to commit an offense or, by choice of the child; obtaining consent from the guardian for the removal of the child; or removing the child to prevent imminent danger. Aside from reviewing the defenses, we can seek the suppression of evidence to weaken the state’s case and gain bargaining power. If circumstances justify it, we can also assist you with arranging a deal for a lesser offense or jail time. And if your case warrants an aggressive trial strategy, we will deftly try the case before a jury.
Call a New Brunswick NJ Kidnapping Attorney to Discuss Your Case
No matter what gave rise to your kidnapping charges or what your concerns are, our seasoned criminal lawyers are here to provide you with dedicated counsel and tireless representation. Having helped many clients facing criminal charges for kidnapping in Middlesex County, including in Perth Amboy, Piscataway, East Brunswick, Dunellen, Cranbury, Plainsboro, and across the state of NJ, call us today at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.