Kidnapping is broadly defined as the intentional abduction of another person. In Texas, kidnapping can either be charged a felony in the first, second or third degree—depending on whether or not "aggravating factors" are present in the case. If the actor takes the victim across state lines, however, the matter can quickly become a federal case. If you or someone you know has been charged with kidnapping, it is imperative that that you consult a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could either be charged with a first, second or third degree felony offense. Unless aggravating factors exist, kidnapping is generally charged as a third degree felony. If aggravated factors do exist but the victim was released in a safe place, you could be charged with a second degree felony.
You could be charged with aggravated kidnapping if you:
If you are convicted of a third degree felony, you could be sentenced to prison for up to 10 years and fined up to $10,000. If you are convicted of a second degree felony, you could be sentenced to prison for up to 20 years and fined up to $10,000. If convicted of a first degree felony, you could be sentenced to prison for life and fined up to $10,000.
Affirmative defenses under Texas Penal Code § 20.03 include:
If you have been arrested for kidnapping in the state of Texas, it is possible that you could face concurrent charges for the crimes of unlawful restraint and/or smuggling of persons. These offenses are also contained in Texas Penal Code Chapter 20.
Unlawful Restraint – Texas Penal Code § 20.02
Unlawful restraint is defined as the act of intentionally or knowingly restraining another person who is at least 14 years old. This crime is generally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. If the victim was younger than 17, however, the crime becomes a state jail felony. If the victim was exposed to a substantial risk of bodily injury or the defendant knew that the victim is a public servant who was carrying out official duties, the crime becomes a third degree felony.
Smuggling of Persons – Texas Penal Code § 20.05
Smuggling of persons is defined as the act of using a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft to transport an individual in order to conceal them from law enforcement or flee from a potential arrest. This crime is typically charged as a state jail felony unless the actor committed the offense for financial gain or in a manner that created a substantial risk of injury or death to the victim—in which case, the charges would be elevated to a third degree felony.
If you have been charged with kidnapping in Fort Worth, call me as soon as possible so that we can discuss your situation and evaluate your defense options. The penalties for kidnapping are severe, and include prison time and fines. I am A. Oliver Hassibi, and I have the experience, skill and knowledge necessary to fight back against your charges.
Contact me today for a free initial consultation.