Both the citizens of Texas and law enforcement personnel consider kidnapping to be a particularly heinous crime. This is so even when a parent takes their child out of fear for their safety. You can bet that if the authorities arrest you and charge you with kidnapping, the prosecution will work very hard to secure a conviction.
Texas lawmakers define kidnapping as the unlawful and purposeful abduction of another individual. It does not matter if the person taken is a child or an adult. The consequences upon conviction will be the same, and they will be quite significant. Without a proper criminal defense, a defendant may face time in prison as well as a costly fine.
Some circumstances can ramp up an ordinary kidnapping charge to aggravated kidnapping. These include the following:
- The abductor seeks a reward or a ransom.
- The abductor uses a victim as a hostage or a shield.
- The abductor harms the victim physically.
- The abductor uses a gun or other deadly weapon during the kidnapping.
- The abductor terrorizes the victim and/or their family members.
The penalties upon conviction of aggravated kidnapping, which is a first-degree felony, include up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, if you and your lawyer work to create a strong criminal defense, you may be able to escape the harshest consequences. For example, if you safely release the hostage, the court will likely take this into account when handing down a sentence.
Facing felony charges is not the time to waste your constitutional right to a defense. Seek help from a legal professional early and prepare yourself to fight for your freedom and your reputation.