You’re probably familiar with “kidnapping,” but how does Texas define the offense and what are the penalties involved? Under Section 20.03(a) of the Texas Penal Code, “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.” The Texas Penal Code defines “abducting” as restraining a person with the intention of preventing his or her liberation by:
- Holding the person in a place where it is unlikely they will be found, or
- Using or threating deadly force against the victim.
There are plausible defenses to a kidnapping charge that the court will consider, such as: 1) the abduction was not intended to use deadly force, 2) the offender was related to the victim, and 3) the offender’s sole intention was to assume “lawful control” of the person who was kidnapped. For example, a stepfather drives 60 miles to a motel to pick up his 15-year-old stepdaughter who ran away with her 25-year-old boyfriend. Kidnapping under Sec. 20.03 is a felony of the third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, and possibly by a maximum fine of $10,000.
What is Aggravated Kidnapping?
Under Section 20.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits aggravated kidnapping when he or she, “intentionally or knowingly abducts another person with the intent” to:
1) hold them for ransom,
2) hold them for a reward,
3) used them as a hostage,
4) use them as a body shield, or
5) facilitate a felony,
6) flee after committing or attempting to commit a felony offense,
7) abuse the victim sexually,
8) terrorize the victim or a third person, or
9) interfere with or impede a political or governmental function.
Aggravated kidnapping under Sec. 20.04 is a felony of the first degree, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison, and possibly by a maximum fine of $10,000.
Facing kidnapping charges in Plano or Dallas? Contact our firm today!