Kidnapping is a serious criminal charge that will most definitely require the expertise of a Houston-area kidnapping defense attorney. Kidnapping charges often arise when family violence or child custody disputes get out of hand. It is recommended that legal counsel be retained at the very outset of a abduction investigation. Experienced kidnapping defense attorneys are prepared to protect a suspect’s legal rights and mount a vigorous defense in court.
The charge of kidnapping includes a number of essential elements, all of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge or jury. This high burden of proof can be difficult for a state prosecutor to achieve. A knowledgeable kidnapping charges attorney may be able to have the allegations reduced or dismissed due to inadequate evidence.
According to Texas Penal Code §20.01, kidnapping includes the following basic characteristics:
Under Texas law, restraint without the consent of an individual means that the restraint was accomplished with the use of force, deception or intimidation. The restraint is also regarded as unlawful if the person being restrained is under the age of 14 or regarded as being incompetent, and permission has not been granted by a parent, guardian or responsible institution.
Kidnapping charges may also be filed if the person who is unlawfully restrained is between the ages of 14 and 17 and is moved across state lines or outside a 120-mile radius. Abduction is defined as restraining an individual for the purpose of preventing their freedom and includes the following elements:
The penalties for kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping are severe in the state of Texas. The available penalties will vary in accordance with the extent of the crime, the defendant’s criminal record, whether a weapon was used and the age of the victim. A third-degree kidnapping felony can result in two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A kidnapping conviction can also result in the inability to:
A kidnapping lawyer in the Houston-area understands the defense strategies and mitigating circumstances that will prevail in court. Possible defense strategies include the use of an alibi, lack of intent, lack of knowledge about local laws or duress. If you live in the Greater Houston Area, call Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law at 713-862-8880 for a free case evaluation.