Section 20.01 of the Texas Penal Code defines kidnapping as occurring whenever someone restrains or abducts another individual against his will. To restrain a victim means to substantially restrict his movement in order to limit his freedom or prevent him from escaping. Abduction happens whenever the victim is taken against his will and then placed in a location where he is unlikely to be found.
Intent plays a major role in whether or not kidnapping charges are filed. In order to be found guilty, the defendant must have formed the intent to severely hamper the victim’s liberties. Criminal defense attorneys have won in court on behalf of their clients on more that one occasion by effectively introducing arguments which put intent in doubt.
On the other hand, one of the primary ways prosecutors prove intent to commit kidnapping is by showing the victim did not consent to be restrained or abducted. When the victim is a child under the age of 14, it’s implied that he or she was unable to consent. In cases like this, you can be destroyed in court without a criminal defense attorney highly seasoned in preempting prosecutorial efforts to convict on this basis.
Third-Degree Felony Punishments
Kidnapping is usually considered a third-degree felony unless it involves aggravating factors such as holding the individual for ransom, using him as a hostage, or terrorizing him. In any of those instances, the charge is increased to aggravated kidnapping, which can be either a first or second-degree felony. Punishments for the crime of kidnapping can include:
- Fines up to $10,000
- Community service
- Mandatory counseling for anger management
- Prison sentence: Two to 10 years (third-degree felony), two to 20 years (second-degree felony) or five to 99 years (first-degree felony)
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Ways to Defend Against Kidnapping Charges
It’s much easier to defend kidnapping accusations when there are no aggravating factors involved. A few of the defenses that could be used to defend against kidnapping allegations include:
- The victim was abducted for his or her protection due to an emergency situation
- The victim was not unlawfully restrained, but instead was free to come and go as needed
- The alleged victim went with a parent who had visitation rights
- The victim willingly left with the defendant
Hire Mario Madrid as Your Kidnapping Attorney
Kidnapping charges often become very complicated, especially when it involves the taking of a family member. Those accused of this crime need a strong defense attorney such as Houston criminal defense lawyer Mario Madrid.
As a former assistant district attorney for Galveston County, Mr. Madrid is already aware of how prosecutors vigorously pursue these charges. He works diligently to make sure that his clients have the best possible outcome in court.
To get a free consultation for your kidnapping or abduction case, talk to Mario Madrid and his associates at 713-877-9400.