Defense Against Charges Involving Kidnapping, Restraint, and Abduction
Kidnapping is a serious felony in Texas, but the offense is often misunderstood. People have been accused of kidnapping in surprising situations because of the way the law is written. It is vital to take the right steps to protect your rights and your interests by mounting the best possible defense if you have been charged with kidnapping or a related offense.
The experienced defense attorneys at Barbieri Law Firm understand how this crime is investigated and the strategies that work most effectively for defense. We are ready to fight for your rights and will work hard to secure the best outcome at each step in the process. You don’t need to face the ordeal alone when our team has your back.
Definition of Kidnapping in Texas
The definition of kidnapping in Section 20.03 of the Texas Penal Code is deceptively simple. The statute says, “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.” That means that to understand what constitutes kidnapping in Texas, you need to know what it means to abduct someone under Texas law.
The kidnapping statute provides affirmative defenses to a charge of kidnapping, so those indicate situations where an abduction might not be treated as kidnapping.
A person abducts someone when they restrain them with the intent of preventing them from getting free. This could involve hiding someone in a place where they are not likely to be found or restraining them with the use or threat of deadly force.
The prosecution will need to prove each element of the offense, including proof that the person accused of kidnapping acted “intentionally or knowingly.”
Defenses That Can Be Used Against Kidnapping Charges
Your defense team can use a number of strategies to fight kidnapping charges. They might establish that you lacked the right frame of mind to commit the offense because you acted innocently. If the person allegedly abducted was a family member and there was no force involved, the law allows these facts to be used as a defense against kidnapping charges.
Every situation is unique, but defenses can include:
- Lack of intent
- Lack of sufficient evidence
- Mistaken identity
The sooner the defense team begins working on your case, the more opportunities they have to collect evidence to use in your defense, so it is a good idea to get started on defense as quickly as possible. Your attorneys may be able to demonstrate that no offense occurred or that actions should be classified as a lesser offense such as unlawful restraint.
Certain factors can aggravate a kidnapping offense and cause it to be treated as a more serious crime. Using or showing a deadly weapon during a kidnapping can cause the incident to be treated as aggravated kidnapping. In addition, a person can be convicted of aggravated kidnapping if they intentionally or knowingly abduct someone with the intent to either:
- Hold them for ransom
- Use them as a hostage or shield
- Use them to help commit a felony or flee after committing or trying to commit a felony
- Hurt or sexually abuse them
- Terrorize them or someone else
- Interfere with a government function
If the person abducted was voluntarily released in a safe place, that can reduce the severity of the crime.
Penalties for Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping
The basic offense of kidnapping is treated as a third-degree felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and required to pay a fine as high as $10,000.
Aggravated kidnapping is penalized as a first-degree felony in many cases. This includes the potential for a life sentence along with a $10,000 fine. If the victim was released voluntarily in a safe place, the crime is reduced to a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years.
If a kidnapping charge is reduced to unlawful restraint, that offense is a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum fine becomes $4,000 and the potential for incarceration is no more than one year.
Put the Experience of Barbieri Law Firm to Work for Your Defense if You Are Charged with Kidnapping
Kidnapping is penalized severely to protect vulnerable members of society. But many cases of kidnapping involve misunderstandings and disagreements rather than criminal intent.
If you have been charged with kidnapping, the dedicated and knowledgeable team at Barbieri Law Firm will explore every available strategy to produce a favorable outcome in your case. To get started on your defense and protection plan, call Barbieri Law Firm today at 972-424-1902 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Plano kidnapping attorneys.