If you have been charged with aggravated kidnapping, you do not necessarily have to face a conviction – this is not an automatic outcome to the process and it’s important to realize this. The prosecution is required to prove you committed every element to the aggravated kidnapping offense beyond a reasonable doubt, which can be a difficult burden of proof to meet. Any doubt in the mind of the judge or jury can result in reduction or dismissal of the allegations against you. Due to these reasons, it is crucial to contact an experienced family crimes lawyer immediately after an investigation begins in to fight the false allegations.
Contact Dunham & Jones for a free consultation about your alleged aggravated kidnapping offense. Our criminal defense attorneys handle complex family violence charges in Texas and will provide you with the type of counsel you need during this critical time.
What Is Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas?
According to Section 20.01 of the Texas Penal Code, “aggravated kidnapping” generally involves either of the following elements:
Abduction – This term is defined as holding an individual with the intent to prevent them from being released by:
- Using or threatening to use deadly force against them, or
- Hiding or holding the individual in a place where they are unlikely to be found.
Restraint – This term is defined restricting an individual’s movements without their consent by confining them so the restraints substantially interfere with their ability to be freed or by restricting their freedom by moving them from one place to another. An individual is restrained without consent if:
- The restraint is achieved through deception, force or intimidation;
- The restraint is achieved through an other means, including agreement by the alleged victim if either of the following apply:
- The alleged victim is incompetent or a child under 14 years old, and their parent, guardian or person acting place of the parent did not agree to the movement or confinement; or
- The alleged victim is a child who is 14 years old or older but younger than the age of 17; they are taken outside of the state and outside of a 120-mile radius of their home; and their parent, guardian or person acting in place of their parent did not agree to the movement.
What Happens If You Are Falsely Accused of Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas?
False accusations of aggravated kidnapping in Texas can result in serious penalties and consequences, including any of the following:
- A criminal record,
- Prohibition from owning a firearm,
- Issues being admitted into school or universities
- Prohibition from voting or holding public office,
- Ineligibility to apply for certain jobs, occupations or professions, and/or
- Long prison sentences.
Aggravated Kidnapping Laws in Texas
According to Section 20.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with aggravated kidnapping if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another person with the intent to:
- Commit a felony or flee after the attempt or commission of a felony;
- Hold the person for ransom or reward;
- Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function;
- Terrorize the individual or a third person;
- Use the individual as a shield or hostage; or
- Violate, sexually abuse or inflict bodily injury on the individual.
Additionally, an individual can be charged with aggravated kidnapping if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another person and use or exhibit a deadly weapon while committing the offense.
An intentional or knowing state of mind or mental state is a required element to an aggravated kidnapping offense. This means the defendant’s actions must have been intentional or knowing. As stated in the Texas Penal Code, these mental states are defined as follows:
- Knowingly – An individual can act knowingly if they commit some type of conduct and they are aware their conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result of the conduct.
- Intentionally – An individual can act intentionally if they commit some type of action and it is in their desire or conscious objective to engage in the action or to cause the result of the act or action.
Criminal Penalties for Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the general penalties to a conviction for aggravated kidnapping as follows:
- A conviction for aggravated kidnapping is generally punishable as a felony of the first degree, which can result in a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- However, if the alleged kidnapper can prove they voluntarily released the victim to a safe place, a conviction for aggravated kidnapping is instead punishable as a felony of the second degree, which can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Additionally, these punishments can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- Whether the alleged victim was a child, disabled, incompetent or elderly person,
- Whether the alleged offender is considered a repeat felony offender,
- Whether the alleged offender is considered a habitual offender, and/or
- Whether the alleged offender has a prior criminal conviction.
Work with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Challenge the Allegations Against You
If you have been accused of an aggravated kidnapping offense in Texas, contact Dunham & Jones today for a free consultation. Dunham & Jones has experienced family violence attorneys who will make every effort to fight the false accusations against you. Call now for a free case review on the unique details surrounding your felony charges.