Section 20 of the Texas Penal Code is the state law defining kidnapping charges. Kidnapping is defined under this section as knowingly or intentionally abducting another person, and an aggravated kidnapping is a crime that involves intentionally or knowingly abducting another individual with the intent to hold them for ransom or reward; facilitating the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony; using the alleged victim as a shield or hostage; terrorizing the alleged victim or a third person; inflicting bodily injury on the alleged victim or violating or abuse them sexually, or interfering with the performance of any governmental or political function.
An aggravated kidnapping charge involves enhanced penalties because the offense is considered a “crime of violence.” Under the federal law found in Title 18 U.S. Code § 16, a crime of violence is an offense defined as having an element of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person.
Aggravated Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
Have you been arrested for an alleged aggravated kidnapping offense? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.
Our firm understands the severity of these cases and will work tirelessly to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or completely dismissed. Contact us online for a consultation that will let us really examine the details of your case and give you a better understanding of what options you might have in defending yourself.
Aggravated Kidnapping Charges in Tarrant County
Aggravated kidnapping is a serious offense and an alleged offender could be facing felony charges. Felony convictions have the potential to affect your personal life, professional endeavors, and basic civil rights.
Texas Penal Code § 20.04 establishes that an alleged offender commits an aggravated kidnapping offense if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another individual with the intent to:
- hold them for ransom or reward
- facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony
- use them as a shield or hostage
- terrorize them or a third person
- inflict bodily injury on him or violate or abuse them sexually
- interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function
An alleged offender also commits this crime if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another person and either use or exhibit some kind of deadly weapon during the commission of an offense. The crime is usually a first-degree felony, but an alleged offender may raise the issue as to whether they voluntarily released the alleged victim in a safe place.
When an alleged offender proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense will be a second-degree felony. Under Texas Penal Code § 20.01(1), restrain is defined as meaning restricting a person’s movements without their consent so as to interfere substantially with that person’s liberty or by moving the alleged victim from one place to another or by confining the alleged victim.
Restraint will be considered without consent when it is accomplished by:
- force, intimidation, or deception
- any means, including acquiescence of an alleged victim, if the alleged victim is a child who is less than 14 years of age or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian, or person or institution that is acting in loco parentis and has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement; or an alleged victim is a child who is 14 years of age or older but younger than 17 years of age, the alleged victim is taken out of the state and outside a 120-mile radius from their residence, and the parent, guardian, or person or institution that is acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement.
The term abduct is defined as restraining a person with the intent to prevent their liberation through:
- secreting or holding them in some place where they are not likely to be found
- using or threatening to use deadly force.
Aggravated Kidnapping Penalties in Fort Worth
Aggravated kidnapping involves significant penalties. Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 12, the general consequences of an aggravated kidnapping conviction include such penalties as:
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a $10,000 fine
Punishments may vary depending on several factors, including whether an alleged victim was a child, disabled, incompetent, or an elderly person; whether an alleged offender is considered a repeat felony offender; whether an alleged offender is considered a habitual offender; and/or whether an alleged offender has a prior criminal conviction.
Tarrant County Aggravated Kidnapping Resources
Prudholm v. State, 333 S.W.3d 590 (2011) — This case involved an appeal from a sentence that was enhanced under Texas Penal Code § 12.42(c)(2), which mandates a life sentence for defendants convicted of sex-related offenses listed in Subsection (A) when an alleged offender was previously convicted of any Texas offense that is listed in Subsection (B), or another offense under the laws of another state that contains elements substantially similar to the elements of a Texas offense listed in Subsection (B). The case required the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas to decide whether a California offense of sexual battery contained elements substantially similar to the elements of the Texas offenses of sexual assault or aggravated kidnapping. The Court of Criminal Appeals determined that sexual battery in California did not contain elements that were substantially similar to the necessary elements of aggravated kidnapping or sexual assault in Texas. It affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to the trial court for further punishment proceedings.
Hines v. State, 75 S.W.3d 444 (2002) — Rebecca Thornton was an employee of the Klein Bank in Harris County who arrived at work early on June 29, 1998, to open the bank. While walking up to the front door of the bank, two men who had been hiding behind some bushes approached her and said, “That’s right. Unlock the door.” The two men were wearing black clothing and ski masks, and Thornton tried to go inside the bank to lock the men out. One of the two men stuck the barrel of a shotgun between the doors, used his hand to pry open the door, and then grabbed Thornton by the throat. He asked Thornton to show him the alarm pad. When he noticed that Thornton was having difficulty disarming the alarm, the man pointed the gun in her ribs and said, “Do it now or I will shoot you. I swear to God.” Thornton testified that the man with the gun kept his hand around her throat most of this time. After Thornton disabled the alarm, the man with the gun asked her to lead him to the vault while the other man served as a look-out. As she turned on a light near the vault, another bank employee arrived at the bank. While one of the men was holding on tightly to Thornton’s arm, she was instructed to signal the other employee to come inside the bank. Thornton, however, mouthed to the employee not to enter the bank. The employee was able to understand Thornton’s warning and began to run away. The men proceeded to run out of the bank after the employee. Realizing that the two men had exited the bank, Thornton then left the bank to seek help. Outside the bank, the two men ordered the employee to stop. The employee, fearing that the men were going to kill her, stopped. The two men grabbed the employee by the back of the neck, pulled her inside the bank, and demanded she open the vault. As soon as the men realized that Thornton was no longer in the bank, they quickly left, taking approximately $33,000 with them. Charles Hines was subsequently charged with the aggravated kidnapping of Thornton but argued on appeal that the evidence involved was legally insufficient to support the jury’s verdict. The Court of Appeals reversed the appellant’s conviction, but the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held that a rational juror would have found that Thornton was abducted by Hines and reversed the Court of Appeals judgment, remanding the case to that court for consideration of the appellant’s other points of error.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Aggravated Kidnapping Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you have been charged with an aggravated kidnapping offense in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County, be sure that you have legal representation before appearing in court. Don’t answer your criminal charges on your own because a prosecutor is seeking to impose maximum punishments and may force you to accept a sentence that greatly restricts your freedoms for several years.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy knows how serious aggravated kidnapping charges are for people and works to help every client get the most favorable possible outcome to their criminal case. You can call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation so we can sit down with you and go over all of the details of your case while also outlining exactly what you will be able to do to help retain your freedom.