Kidnapping is a serious offense under Texas law. Popular crime television dramas and the nightly news usually depict high-risk situations where a person may be a hostage. However, most kidnappings arise from familial matter such as parents in a custody battle. No matter the circumstances, a person with kidnapping charges may face severe penalties.

A kidnapping conviction comes with harsh penalties. A person charged with kidnapping may have to pay expensive fines, and even face prison or jail time. If you have been accused ofkidnapping or aggravated kidnapping, it’s crucial that you gain trusted legal representation. 

Brownsville Attorney for Kidnapping in Texas

Are you currently being investigated for kidnapping? A kidnapping offense can lead to serious felony charges. It’s essential that you retain the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney before moving any further. Call Johnathan Gracia at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. today.

Attorney Johnathan Gracia is experienced in the Texas court system. He has a passion for defending his client’s rights and will exhaust all resources to create your defense. Do not face the prosecution without a plan. Contact Johnathan Gracia at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. to uncover any available legal options for you. 

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. defends those accused of kidnapping throughout the greater Brownsville area and surrounding communities including San Benito, Harlingen, Los Fresnos, and Rio Hondo. 

Call us now at 956-504-2211 and schedule your free consultation.

Overview of Kidnapping Charges in Texas

Penalties for Kidnapping under Texas Law

In Texas, it’s illegal to intentionally or knowingly abduct another person. Texas Penal Code § 20.03 states that a person who has been convicted of kidnapping may face a third-degree felony. The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000. 

A kidnapping charge can be tricky to defend under Texas law. Often, the jury will side with the victim if the main component of evidence is testimony. Texas Penal Code offers some affirmative defenses for those who have committed the offense of kidnapping.

It is an affirmative defense to the prosecution if:

  • The kidnapping was not coupled with the intent to threaten or use deadly force;
  • The alleged offender was a relative of the person kidnapped; and
  • The alleged offender’s only objective was to assume lawful control of the victim.

Aggravated Kidnapping in Cameron County, Texas

Depending on the circumstances of the crime, the penalties for kidnapping can be enhanced. Certain aggravating factors can elevate a kidnapping crime to aggravated kidnapping in Texas. If a person does any of the following, he or she will be charged with aggravated kidnapping.

  • Uses the victim as a shield or hostage;
  • Holds the victim for ransom or reward;
  • Inflicts bodily harm or sexual abuses the victim;
  • Abducts the victim to facilitate a felony or flee after committing a felony;
  • Terrorizes the victim;
  • Interferes with the proceedings of any political and governmental function; or
  • Exhibits a deadly weapon during the abduction.

A person convicted of aggravated kidnapping will face a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is punishable with a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

In the case that the defendant proves they released the victim in a safe place, the charges will be reduced to a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and a possible fine of up to $10,000. 

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time limit for prosecutors to file criminal charges against a specific person. This deadline is to preserve evidence and ensure that criminal activity is handled effectively. In Texas, the statute of limitations is based on the severity of the crime. 

Most felonies have a statute of limitations of three years, however the kidnapping statute is extended. A kidnapping offense has a statute of limitations of up to five years. This means the prosecution must collect enough evidence to charge you within five years. For aggravated kidnapping, the statute has been prolonged is 20 years.

Additional Resources

Texas Kidnapping Laws – Visit the official website for Texas state laws and legislation. Find more information surrounding unlawful restraint, kidnapping, and smuggling of persons in Texas. Learn the adjoining penalties, affirmative defenses, and charge specifics regarding kidnapping and other related offenses. 

Child Abduction Resources – Visit the official website for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), a non-profit that works with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that offers critical intervention and prevention services for families. Find more information surrounding child abduction in the United States, stats for child abduction, and resources for victims of kidnapping.

Kidnapping Lawyer in Cameron County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with kidnapping in the Cameron County area, it’s crucial that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Johnathan Gracia has defended numerous people of kidnapping charges in the greater Brownsville area. 

Attorney Johnathan Gracia understands that being charged is a stressful and confusing experience. With his knowledge, he wants to help navigate you through this legal process. Call Johnathan Gracia for trusted legal representation today at 956-504-2211

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. represents those accused of violent crimes throughout the greater Cameron County area including nearby counties such as Hidalgo County and Willacy County. 

Call us now at 956-504-2211 and schedule a free consultation today.

This article was last updated on November 5, 2018.