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What are the elements of kidnapping?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Illegally holding another person against their will is a criminal offense. Basically, this refers to the transfer of a person from one location to the next or confining them without consent. Subject to the specifics of the case, you may be charged under state or federal laws. 

Whether you are charged under New Jersey or federal laws, a conviction for kidnapping can attract serious penalties. As such, it is in your best interest that you understand and explore your defense options:

Understanding the elements of kidnapping

You may be charged with kidnapping when you transport or confine another person for an unlawful purpose such as for ransom, committing another crime, interfering with a government or political function or depriving a parent or a legal guardian of the child’s custody. To prove kidnapping, the following elements must be met:

There has to be a motive

Generally, the motive for kidnapping determines what you will be charged with (first-degree or second-degree kidnapping). That said, the motive for kidnapping can include money, sexual exploitation and politics.

Force or threat of force

Kidnapping is inherently considered a violent crime as it tends to involve some degree of force or the threat of force. The force doesn’t have to be physical. Rather, intimidation and/or deception can be viewed as an element of force. 

Defense options if you are charged with kidnapping

If you are charged with kidnapping someone, you need to explore your defense options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, here are some of the defense options you may consider:

  • Insanity
  • Mistake of facts
  • Consent, and
  • Duress

Being charged with kidnapping is a big deal. Learning more about New Jersey kidnapping laws can help you come up with an effective defense strategy.