San Antonio Lawyers Providing Defense in Kidnapping Cases
Kidnapping is the moving or imprisonment of a person against his or her will. Kidnapping most often occurs in the interest of collecting a ransom, but can also occur as part of a child custody battle or assault case.
Child kidnapping is the unlawful removal, detainment or concealment of a child or baby.
In 1932, after the famous Lindbergh kidnapping, Congress passed the Federal Kidnapping Act. The act allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin investigating kidnapping cases, since the location of kidnapped people and children is unknown.
Child kidnapping is particularly censured in the public eye. Child kidnapping cases are usually high-profile once they reach the courtroom, and legal defense is difficult in the face of compelling evidence.
Aggravated kidnapping is the abduction of a child or adult in conjunction with other serious crimes of a violent nature.
These kidnappings fit into one of four categories:
Bodily harm or death to the victim
If the victim incurs any kind of harm due to a kidnapping or during containment, the kidnapper’s charges will elevate from kidnapping to aggravated kidnapping.
Demand for a ransom
A large number of kidnappings begin with a goal of collecting a ransom in exchange for the safe return of an abductee. The threat of harm to the kidnapped constitutes aggravated kidnapping.
Carjacking and kidnapping
Carjackers often force the driver of a car to remain in the car when attempting to steal it. This crime combines auto theft and kidnapping.
Fraud, force or scare tactics on a victim under 14
Using manipulation is considered just as malicious as the use of physical force in kidnapping cases with abductees under 14.
Kidnapping in the Texas Penal Code
The definition of kidnapping in Texas matches the general kidnapping definition. More information can be found in the Texas Kidnapping Statute (Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 20, Sections 20.03 – 20.04).
Defendants can be convicted of aggravated kidnapping if they have executed a kidnapping with the intent to:
Collect a ransom
Take a hostage or use the victim as a shield
Commit a felony
Injure or sexually abuse the victim
- Commit an act of terror
Interfere with the government
Use a deadly weapon
The state considers these criteria when passing judgment and determining a sentence in a kidnapping case.
Defense Against Kidnapping Charges
Those charged with kidnapping can present one of these defenses:
Voluntary release of victim
No intent of deadly force
Lack of knowledge
Defendant and victim are related
Defendant was attempting to gain lawful control of victim
In many cases, a successful defense can reduce the penalty for the charge.
In Texas, kidnapping is considered a third-degree felony. The regular penalty is 2-10 years in a state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The state considers aggravated kidnapping a first-degree felony. First-degree felonies are punishable by anywhere from 5 to 99 years in a state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Our knowledge and experience is unmatched in kidnapping cases. Talk to LaHood & Calfas today if you need a strong legal team for your kidnapping case.
Child Custody and Kidnapping
Children are often kidnapped as a result of a child custody case ruling. A parent who wants custody of a child but does not win that custody or visitation rights may resort to kidnapping to assert control of the child. These cases can be treated slightly differently from ordinary kidnapping cases since the kidnapper is often related to the victim or may sometimes be trying to regain lawful control of the victim.