Texas Penal Code 20.03 – Kidnapping
WHAT IS KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
In Texas, a person commits the offense of kidnapping by holding a person where they are unlikely to be found, or using or threatening deadly force to restrict their freedom.
WHAT IS THE KIDNAPPING LAW IN TEXAS?
Tex. Penal Code § 20.03. KIDNAPPING.
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the abduction was not coupled with intent to use or to threaten to use deadly force;
(2) the actor was a relative of the person abducted; and
(3) the actor’s sole intent was to assume lawful control of the victim.
(c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
WHAT IS THE PENALTY CLASS FOR KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
Kidnapping is a third degree felony, punishable by two to ten years in prison.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT RANGE FOR KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
A person charged with kidnapping, a third degree felony, faces two to ten years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10,000.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
A person charged with kidnapping may be eligible for probation after a conviction, or deferred adjudication without a conviction, for up to ten years.
WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
The statute authorizes an affirmative defense for a person who was a relative of the victim, did not intend or threaten to use deadly force, and the abduction was for the sole purpose of assuming lawful control of the victim.
- Can a spouse take a child without permission in Texas? Contentious child custody disputes and violations of custody orders may occasionally lead to kidnapping allegations, but the affirmative defense in the kidnapping statute often discourages the prosecution of such allegations. If a parent does not threaten the child or use deadly force, and there is a possibility the parent was assuming lawful custody at the time, there is a strong chance he or she will prevail over a kidnapping charge.However, if a parent violates a court order by taking unlawful custody of a child, he or she may be charged with kidnapping or interference with child custody.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS?
The limitation period for kidnapping, a third degree felony, is five years.
KIDNAPPING IN TEXAS
A kidnapping is complete when the defendant accomplishes the restraint, and had the specific intent to prevent the victim’s liberation by secretion or threatening to use deadly force.
TEXAS KIDNAPPING COURT CASES
The case law regarding kidnapping in Texas shows the burden is on the accused to prove all three requirements of the affirmative defense at trial.
- In Lugo v. State, a defendant took a baby girl he assumed was his child to Mexico without the mother’s permission. He did not use force or threats, but was not the presumed father, and paternity had yet to be confirmed. He thus had no parental rights. The appellate court upheld his kidnapping conviction, holding he did not prove his sole intent in the abduction was to assume lawful custody. 923 S.W.2d 598 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, pet. ref’d).
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WE FIGHT FOR DISMISSAL
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15
Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+
Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.
Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.
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