Kidnapping is a criminal offense that involves moving or transporting a person without their consent or restricting their freedom of movement by holding them in an area for illegal purposes. This crime is often committed with a further criminal intention in mind. For example, a person may take a child and offer to return the child if a ransom is paid in Texas.
Although anyone can be kidnapped, this crime frequently involves taking children against their will and holding them for ransom. This offense uses the protective instincts of parents as a psychological motivator to pay a ransom or agree to certain conditions.
Criminal Penalties for Taking Captives
This crime can be punished in several ways in Houston, Texas. The penalties are based on the type of events that occurred during the commission of the crime. The law defines activities typically associated with this crime as:
- Restraint – moving or confining a person without their consent
- Abduction – taking someone and attempting to prevent their rescue
In most cases, an abduction conviction can lead to confinement in state jail for two years and a $10,000 fine. Some cases of restraint may be prosecuted as unlawful restraint and downgraded to a less serious penalty category. Unlawful restraint is a Class A misdemeanor that can be punished with a year in jail and a $4000 fine.
Kidnapping Legal Defenses
It may be possible to get restraint or abduction charges reduced in Houston. For example, if the person who was being restrained was less than 14 years old and the person being charged was related to that person and was attempting to lawfully control them, the charge may be reduced.
Also, if the restrained person is between 14 and 17 years old and the person who restrained them used no force or intimidation and was no more than three years older than the person being restrained, the charges may be reduced. These provisions exist to protect the rights of parents, family members and legal guardians.
Getting an Attorney
There are many circumstances where innocent people are accused of kidnapping. Often times, there is a simple misunderstanding or the accuser has a vendetta against the accused individual. If this has happened to you, then you need to hire a criminal defense attorney before it’s too late.