To most people, kidnapping conjures images of someone being shoved into a van or a home invasion targeting the child or spouse of someone powerful or wealthy. While these kinds of high-profile, dramatic kidnappings certainly do occur, they are far from the only situations that lead to kidnapping charges.
New Jersey defines kidnapping as the unlawful removal of a person from a place, possibly to hold them for ransom. However, the definition also extends to unlawful confinement for a substantial amount of time.
You don’t have to physically abduct someone to find yourself accused of kidnapping in New Jersey. A bad date at your house or a fight with a significant other could potentially lead to allegations of kidnapping.
How could a social interaction lead to kidnapping charges?
You and your romantic partner get into a big fight. Things get out of control, and pretty soon, your partner retreats to the bathroom or a bedroom. You stand outside of that room, trying to argue with them through the door. They keep telling you that they just want to leave, but you won’t stand down until you resolve the matter.
They use their phone to call the police, who arrived and arrest you. Eventually, they bring charges of kidnapping against you because the situation looks like you held your partner in that bedroom or bathroom against their will.
Similar situations could occur during a date while spending time with someone in your home. If someone feels threatened and like they cannot leave because of how you secure the door to your property or a misinterpretation of what you said to them, they might call the police and push for your prosecution after the end of your time together.
Kidnapping charges are not something you should leave to chance
Clearly, whether you had a date that went way worse than you could ever have imagined or you had a blow-up fight with your intimate partner, you had no intention of illegally restraining someone or confining them against their will.
However, they perceived the threat to be real, which means that New Jersey could pursue charges against you. Kidnapping charges could mean between 30 years and life in prison. Rather than assuming that your version of events is enough to defend yourself in court, you will better protect yourself by building a thorough defense strategy before you ever see a judge.
Those accused of kidnapping and other violent crimes risk incarceration and lifelong limitations on their personal opportunities if they don’t fight those charges.