Kidnapping charges can arise from a variety of circumstances, and the sentencing associated with this crime is serious. There are two forms of kidnapping that are commonly prosecuted by the legal system. The two terms associated with this crime, as outlined in 20.01 of the Texas Penal Code, are:
- Restraint: Restricting another person’s movements without their consent by moving them from place to place or keeping them within a certain space. Intimidation, deception and force are three ways in which this can be accomplished. Consent also cannot be given if the person is under the age of 14 or between the ages of 14 and 17 and taken across state lines or more than 120 miles from their home.
- Abduction: This is when a person is held against their will, and the perpetrator attempts to keep the victim from being rescued or threatens harm should a rescue be attempted. It is also abduction if the victim is kept in a place where they are unlikely to be found.
Sentencing for Kidnapping Charges
Sentencing for kidnapping charges relies heavily upon the circumstances surrounding the crime. Some scenarios that can affect sentencing include whether:
- The victim was a child or elderly individual
- A weapon was used during the crime
- The defendant has a prior conviction of the same or similar crime
- The crime resulted in serious injury or death
Those accused of kidnapping are usually charged with a third-degree felony and can face sentences of two to 10 years in prison and fines of no more than $10,000.
Defending Against Kidnapping Charges
For those who have been charged with kidnapping, a strong defense is necessary from the beginning. The prosecution has the burden of proof and must show that the defendant was knowingly trying to control the victim against their will.
In cases of a child custody dispute, the defense has a stronger case because situations like these often involve a parent who is lawfully trying to take control of their child. This type of defense is called affirmative defense because the defendant admits to what they did, but a crime was not necessarily committed.
Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200