In Texas, the offense of “kidnapping” is criminalized under
both state and federal law. Depending on the facts of the case, an individual
accused of kidnapping can be prosecuted in state or federal court. To
learn more about kidnapping under state and federal law, we encourage
you to continue reading as we provide a brief explanation below.
Under state law, the offense of
kidnapping falls under two categories: 1)
kidnapping under Section 20.03 of the Texas Penal Code and 2)
aggravated kidnapping under Section 20.04.
Sec. 20.03, kidnapping:
A person is guilty of “kidnapping” when he or she intentionally
abducts another person. The offense of kidnapping is a felony of the third
degree, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
While kidnapping is a felony, there are defenses available. Such defenses
include: 1) the kidnapping did not involve the intent to threaten or use
deadly force, 2) the abductor was a relative of the victim, or 3) the
abductor’s sole intention was to assume lawful control of the person abducted.
Sec. 20.04, aggravated kidnapping:
As the title suggests,
aggravated kidnapping is more serious than simple “kidnapping.” Under Sec. 20.04
of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits aggravated kidnapping when he
or she intentionally abducts another individual with the intention of:
- Holding the victim for a ransom or another reward,
- Uses the victim as a shield,
- Uses the victim as a hostage, or
- Facilitating the commission of a felony offense, or the flight after attempting
to or committing a felony,
- Inflicting bodily injury upon the victim, or
- Violating or abusing the victim sexually.
A person also commits the offense of aggravated kidnapping of the abductor
intentionally abducts another person while using or exhibiting a deadly weapon.
Generally, aggravated kidnapping is a felony of the first degree, punishable
by 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Federal Kidnapping Charges
Under certain circumstances, a person can face
federal kidnapping charges under 18 U.S. Code § 1201. Under this section,
anyone who kidnaps or abducts someone and holds them for ransom or reward,
except in the case of a child by their parent (parental kidnapping), faces
federal kidnapping charges.
A person faces federal kidnapping charges when:
- The victim is transported (dead or alive) in interstate or foreign commerce
across a state boundary,
- The kidnapping is done within maritime territory of the U.S.,
- The kidnapping is conducted within aircraft jurisdiction of the U.S.,
- The victim is an internationally protected person, an official guest, or
a foreign official, or
- The victim is an officer or employee described under Section 114.
Federal kidnapping charges are punishable by a maximum term of life in
prison, or if the victim died, it is punishable by death or life in prison.
Are you a parent or someone else facing kidnapping charges? If so, you
need a hard-hitting defense.
Contact our Plano criminal defense firm now for state and federal criminal defense!