Texas Criminal Law

The Kidnapping crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you intentionally or knowingly abduct another person. There is a separate Texas statute for “Aggravated Kidnapping,” and there is a Kidnapping crime in federal law as well. Learn more detailed information about the Texas Kidnapping offense below.

Kidnapping is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person”, Chapter 20 “Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, and Smuggling of Persons.” Another related offense is Aggravated Kidnapping. Learn more about the Texas crime of Aggravated Kidnapping here

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What is the current Texas law about Kidnapping?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Kidnapping in Penal Code Section §20.03 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.

How can I be charged with Kidnapping?

You can be charged with Kidnapping if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 20.03(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Kidnapping?

A conviction for Kidnapping is punished as a Felony of the third degree,[2] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of 2 to 10 years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Are there any affirmative defenses?

Yes. Subsection (b) of the Texas Kidnapping law creates an affirmative defense that is most applicable to parents:

(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the abduction was not coupled with intent to use or to threaten to use deadly force;

(2) the actor was a relative of the person abducted; and

(3) the actor’s sole intent was to assume lawful control of the victim.

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §20.03^2. Texas Penal Code §20.03(c)

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