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New Jersey Arson Statutes

§ 2C:17-1. Arson and related offenses

a. Aggravated arson. A person is guilty of aggravated arson, a crime of the second degree, if he starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another’s:

(1) Thereby purposely or knowingly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

(2) With the purpose of destroying a building or structure of another; or

(3) With the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage to such property under circumstances which recklessly place any other person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

(4) With the purpose of destroying or damaging a structure in order to exempt the structure, completely or partially, from the provisions of any State, county or local zoning, planning or building law, regulation, ordinance or enactment under circumstances which recklessly place any other person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

(5) With the purpose of destroying or damaging any forest.

b. Arson. A person is guilty of arson, a crime of the third degree, if he purposely starts a fire or causes an explosion, whether on his own property or another’s:

(1) Thereby recklessly placing another person in danger of death or bodily injury; or

(2) Thereby recklessly placing a building or structure of another in danger of damage or destruction; or

(3) With the purpose of collecting insurance for the destruction or damage to such property; or

(4) With the purpose of destroying or damaging a structure in order to exempt the structure, completely or partially, from the provisions of any State, county or local zoning, planning or building law, regulation, ordinance or enactment; or

(5) Thereby recklessly placing a forest in danger of damage or destruction.

c. Failure to control or report dangerous fire. A person who knows that a fire is endangering life or a substantial amount of property of another and either fails to take reasonable measures to put out or control the fire, when he can do so without substantial risk to himself, or to give prompt fire alarm, commits a crime of the fourth degree if:

(1) He knows that he is under an official, contractual, or other legal duty to prevent or combat the fire; or

(2) The fire was started, albeit lawfully, by him or with his assent, or on property in his custody or control.

d. Any person who, directly or indirectly, pays or accepts or offers to pay or accept any form of consideration including, but not limited to, money or any other pecuniary benefit, regardless of whether any consideration is actually exchanged for the purpose of starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of this section commits a crime of the first degree.

e. Notwithstanding the provisions of any section of this Title to the contrary, if a person is convicted of aggravated arson pursuant to the provisions of subsection a. of this section and the structure which was the target of the onense was a health care facility or a physician’s office, the sentence imposed shall include a term of imprisonment. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of a person sentenced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

f. Definitions. “Structure” is defined in section 2C:18-1. Property is that of another, for the purpose of this section, if any one other than the actor has a possessory, or legal or equitable proprietary interest therein. Property is that of another for the purpose of this section, if anyone other than the actor has a legal or equitable interest in the property including, but not limited to, a mortgage, pledge, lien or security interest therein. If a building or structure is divided into separately occupied units, any unit not occupied by the actor is an occupied structure of another.

As used in this section, “forest” means and includes any forest, brush land, grass land, salt marsh, wooded area and any combination thereof, including but not limited to, an open space area, public lands, wetlands, park lands, natural habitats, a State conservation area, a wildlife refuge area or any other designated undeveloped open space whether or not it is subject to specific protection under law.

As used in this section, “health care facility” means health care facility as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c. 136 (C. 26:2H-2).

g. Notwithstanding the provisions of any section of this Title to the contrary, if a person is convicted pursuant to the provisions of subsection a., b. or d. of this section and the structure which was the target of the offense was a church, synagogue, temple or other place of public worship, that person commits a crime of the first degree and the sentence imposed shall include a term of imprisonment. The term of imprisonment shall include a minimum term of 15 years, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of a person sentenced pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

§ 2C:17-3. Criminal mischief

a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:

(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:17-2; or

(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.

b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $ 2,000.00 or more.

(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $ 500.00 but less than $ 2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $ 500.00 or less.

(3) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term ‘physical disruption” does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility.

(4) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(5) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(6) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.

(7) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.

(8) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.

c. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

d. As used in this section:

(1) “Act of graffiti” means the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.

(2) “Spray paint” means any paint or pigmented substance that is in an aerosol or similar spray container.

e. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings, may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the damage or destruction.

KIDNAPPING AND COERCION

§ 2C:13-1. Kidnapping

a. Holding for ransom, reward or as a hostage. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes 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.

b. Holding for other purposes. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period, with any of the following purposes:

(1) To facilitate commission of any crime or flight thereafter;

(2) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;

(3) To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or

(4) To permanently deprive a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

c. Grading of kidnapping. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, a person may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 and 30 years. If the actor releases the victim unharmed and in a safe place prior to apprehension, it is a crime of the second degree.

(2) Kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, an actor shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court, if the victim of the kidnapping is less than 16 years of age and if during the kidnapping:

(a) A crime under N.J.S.2C:14-2 or subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 is committed against the victim;

(b) A crime under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 is committed against the victim; or

(c) The actor sells or delivers the victim to another person for pecuniary gain other than in circumstances which lead to the return of the victim to a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the general supervision of the victim.

Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph shall be either a term of 25 years during which the actor shall not be eligible for parole, or a specific term between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which the actor shall serve 25 years before being eligible for parole; provided, however, that the crime of kidnapping under this paragraph and underlying aggravating crimes listed in subparagraph (a), (b) or (c) of this paragraph shall merge for purposes of sentencing. If the actor is convicted of the criminal homicide of a victim of a kidnapping under the provisions of chapter 11, any sentence imposed under provisions of this paragraph shall be served consecutively to any sentence imposed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 11.

d. “Unlawful” removal or confinement. A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this section and of sections 2C:13-2 and 2C:13-3, if it is accomplished by force, threat or deception, or, in the case of a person who is under the age of 14 or is incompetent, if it is accomplished without the consent of a parent, guardian or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.

e. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:

(1) The actor reasonably believed that the action was necessary to preserve the victim from imminent danger to his welfare. However, no defense shall be available pursuant to this subsection if the actor does not, as soon as reasonably practicable but in no event more than 24 hours after taking a victim under his protection, give notice of the victim’s location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families;

(2) The actor reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the victim was consented to by a parent, or by an authorized State agency; or

(3) The victim, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition by his parent and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the victim.

f. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section that a parent having the right of custody reasonably believed he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent, provided that the parent having custody, as soon as reasonably practicable:

(1) Gives notice of the victim’s location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families; or

(2) Commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.

g. As used in subsections e. and f. of this section, “parent” means a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of a victim.

§ 2C:13-2. Criminal restraint

A person commits a crime of the third degree if he knowingly:

a. Restrains another unlawfully in circumstances exposing the other to risk of serious bodily injury; or

b. Holds another in a condition of involuntary servitude.

The creation by the actor of circumstances resulting in a belief by another that he must remain in a particular location shall for purposes of this section be deemed to be a holding in a condition of involuntary servitude.

In any prosecution under subsection b., it is an affirmative defense that the person held was a child less than 18 years old and the actor was a relative or legal guardian of such child and his sole purpose was to assume control of such child.

§ 2C:13-3. False imprisonment

A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty. In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the person restrained was a child less than 18 years old and that the actor was a relative or legal guardian of such child and that his sole purpose was to assume control of such child.

§ 2C:13-4. Interference with custody

a. Custody of children. A person, including a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, is guilty of interference with custody if he:

(1) Takes or detains a minor child with the purpose of concealing the minor child and thereby depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time with the minor child; or

(2) After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting marriage or custody but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody and parenting time rights to a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time, or to evade the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or

(3) After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting the protective services needs of a child pursuant to Title 9 of the Revised Statutes in an action affecting custody, but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody rights of a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or

(4) After the issuance of a temporary or final order specifying custody, joint custody rights or parenting time, takes, detains, entices or conceals a minor child from the other parent in violation of the custody or parenting time order.

Interference with custody is a crime of the second degree if the child is taken, detained, enticed or concealed: (i) outside the United States or (ii) for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, interference with custody is a crime of the third degree but the presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 for a first offense of a crime of the third degree shall not apply.

b. Custody of committed persons. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly takes or entices any committed person away from lawful custody when he is not privileged to do so. “Committed person” means, in addition to anyone committed under judicial warrant, any orphan, neglected or delinquent child, mentally defective or insane person, or other dependent or incompetent person entrusted to another’s custody by or through a recognized social agency or otherwise by authority of law.

c. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subsection a. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:

(1) The actor reasonably believed that the action was necessary to preserve the child from imminent danger to his welfare. However, no defense shall be available pursuant to this subsection if the actor does not, as soon as reasonably practicable but in no event more than 24 hours after taking a child under his protection, give notice of the child’s location to the police department of the municipality where the child resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the child resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families;

(2) The actor reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the minor child was consented to by the other parent, or by an authorized State agency; or

(3) The child, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.

d. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subsection a. of this section that a parent having the right of custody reasonably believed he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent, provided that the parent having custody, as soon as reasonably practicable:

(1) Gives notice of the child’s location to the police department of the municipality where the child resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the child resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families; or

(2) Commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.

e. The offenses enumerated in this section are continuous in nature and continue for so long as the child is concealed or detained.

f. (1) In addition to any other disposition provided by law, a person convicted under subsection a. of this section shall make restitution of all reasonable expenses and costs, including reasonable counsel fees, incurred by the other parent in securing the child’s return.

(2) In imposing sentence under subsection a. of this section the court shall consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in chapter 44 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes:

(a) Whether the person returned the child voluntarily; and

(b) The length of time the child was concealed or detained.

g. As used in this section, “parent” means a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of a minor child.

§ 2C:13-5. Criminal coercion

a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal coercion if, with purpose unlawfully to restrict another’s freedom of action to engage or refrain from engaging in conduct, he threatens to:

(1) Inflict bodily injury on anyone or commit any other offense;

(2) Accuse anyone of an offense;

(3) Expose any secret which would tend to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;

(4) Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;

(5) Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the restriction compelled is demanded in the course of negotiation for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor acts;

(6) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or

(7) Perform any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to substantially harm another person with respect to his health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs (2), (3), (4), (6) and (7) that the actor believed the accusation or secret to be true or the proposed official action justified and that his purpose was limited to compelling the other to behave in a way reasonably related to the circumstances which were the subject of the accusation, exposure or proposed official action, as by desisting from further misbehavior, making good a wrong done, or refraining from taking any action or responsibility for which the actor believes the other disqualified.

b. Grading. Criminal coercion is a crime of the fourth degree unless the threat is to commit a crime more serious than one of the fourth degree or the actor’s purpose is criminal, in which cases the offense is a crime of the third degree.

§ 2C:13-6. Luring, enticing child by various means, attempts; crime of second degree; subsequent offense, mandatory imprisonment; definitions

a. A person commits a crime of the second degree if he attempts, via electronic or any other means, to lure or entice a child or one who he reasonably believes to be a child into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area, or to meet or appear at any other place, with a purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.

b. As used in this section:

“Child” means a person less than 18 years old.

“Electronic means” includes, but is not limited to, the Internet, which shall have the meaning set forth in N.J.S.2C:24-4.

“Structure” means any building, room, ship, vessel or airplane and also means any place adapted for overnight accommodation of persons, or for carrying on business therein, whether or not a person is actually present.

c. Nothing herein shall be deemed to preclude, if the evidence so warrants, an indictment and conviction for attempted kidnapping under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:13-1.

d. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment shall include, unless the person is sentenced pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-7, a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. If the person is sentenced pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7, the court shall impose a minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or five years, whichever is greater. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced as a second or subsequent offender pursuant to this section.

For the purposes of this section, an offense is considered a second or subsequent offense if the actor has at any time been convicted pursuant to this section, or under any similar statute of the United States, this State or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to this section.

e. A person convicted of an offense under this section who has previously been convicted of a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 or N.J.S.2C:24-4 shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment shall include, unless the person is sentenced pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-7, a mandatory minimum term of five years, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced pursuant to this section.

For the purposes of this subsection, an offense is considered a previous conviction of N.J.S.2C:14-2, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 or N.J.S.2C:24-4 if the actor has at any time been convicted under any of these sections or under any similar statute of the United States, this State or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to any of these sections.

f. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other law, a conviction under this section shall not merge with a conviction of any other criminal offense, nor shall such other conviction merge with a conviction under this section, and the court shall impose separate sentences upon each violation of this section and any other criminal offense. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced pursuant to this section.

§ 2C:13-7. Luring, enticing an adult, certain circumstances, third degree crime; definitions

a. A person commits a crime of the third degree if he attempts, via electronic or any other means, to lure or entice a person into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area, or to meet or appear at any place, with a purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the person lured or enticed or against any other person.

b. As used in this section:

“Electronic means” includes, but is not limited to, the Internet, which shall have the meaning set forth in N.J.S.2C:24-4.

“Structure” shall have the meaning set forth in P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6).

c. Nothing herein shall be deemed to preclude, if the evidence so warrants, an indictment and conviction for attempted kidnapping under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:13-1 or for any other crime or offense.

d. A person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment shall include, unless the person is sentenced pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-7, a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. If the person is sentenced pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7, the court shall impose a minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or five years, whichever is greater. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced as a second or subsequent offender pursuant to this section.

For the purposes of this section, an offense is considered a second or subsequent offense if the actor has at any time been convicted pursuant to this section, or under any similar statute of the United States, this State or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to this section.

e. A person convicted of an offense under this section who has previously been convicted of a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 or N.J.S.2C:24-4 shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment shall include, unless the person is sentenced pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-7, a mandatory minimum term of three years, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced pursuant to this section.

For the purposes of this subsection, an offense is considered a previous conviction of N.J.S.2C:14-2, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 or N.J.S.2C:24-4 if the actor has at any time been convicted under any of these sections or under any similar statute of the United States, this State or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to any of these sections.

f. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other law, a conviction under this section shall not merge with a conviction of any other criminal offense, nor shall such other conviction merge with a conviction under this section, and the court shall impose separate sentences upon each violation of this section and any other criminal offense. The court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced pursuant to this section.

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