Kidnapping and unlawful restraint charges are serious criminal offenses that can result in severe legal penalties. A criminal defense lawyer may need to defend you against charges of unlawful restraint if you’re accused of preventing a person from making physical movements without their consent. Unlawful restraint may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony in Texas, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, you may be charged with abduction if you’re suspected of having taken someone and made attempts to prevent that person’s discovery or rescue. Abduction might involve attempted acts of violence or threats of violence. If the person you abducted was transported across state lines, you will face federal charges instead of or in addition to state charges.
Other felony charges include aggravated kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is the kidnapping of a person with the intent to inflict bodily injury, commit sex crimes, demand a ransom, or use the person as a hostage. Aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony in Texas, and is punishable by up to 99 years in state prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Parental kidnapping is another form of abduction that is prohibited in the state of Texas. The law states a person has committed parental abduction if he takes a child under the age of 18 and is aware that doing so violates a court order related to child custody. In Texas, parental kidnapping is classified as a felony and carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. These penalties can increase if the child was held for ransom, abused, or assaulted with a deadly weapon while in your possession.
Unfortunately, many people are falsely accused of parental kidnapping while they are in the middle of a custody battle with an ex-spouse. In any kidnapping case—whether it involves a parent or not—the prosecutor has to be able to prove the accused knowingly and intentionally abducted the victim. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to show you did not have the intent to kidnap someone, and therefore should not be charged with this serious crime.
Some defendants who are facing kidnapping charges may be offered a plea deal. Prosecutors may offer to lower the felony kidnapping charges to misdemeanor unlawful restraint charges in exchange for a guilty plea. This would significantly reduce the penalties you face, but is it worth it? You should never take a plea deal without consulting with an attorney first. Although it may be tempting to do so to guarantee a lower sentence, it is not advised in many situations.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass, we understand that complicated situations such as custody battles can lead to misunderstandings. Unfortunately, those misunderstandings can result in a criminal record that can affect your life for years to come. A conviction on your record could make it difficult to find employment or even a place to live. If you’re facing felony charges near Dallas, call our criminal defense attorney today at (972) 954-4441.