Kidnapping is the unlawful act of taking someone without their consent or the authority of the law. The unlawful taking may be done by fraud or force. The taking can be done with the intent of holding them for ransom, with the intent of maintaining possession of the person, or selling the person.

Is Kidnapping Defined the Same Way in Texas?

No. Texas defines the criminal charge of kidnapping as intentionally or knowingly abducting another individual. Abducting means to retrain an individual with the intent to stop them from freely moving around. Abducting can occur by:

  • Holding a victim in an area where they are not likely to be located
  • Using deadly force
  • Threatening to use deadly force

Are Aggravated Kidnapping and Kidnapping the Same in Texas?

No, they are not the same criminal charge. Aggravated kidnapping occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally abducts an individual with the intent to:

  • Use them as a hostage or shield
  • Hold them for reward or ransom
  • Complete the commission of a felony
  • Use them to complete a felonious act or after attempting to committing a felony
  • Terrorize them
  • Terrorize a third person
  • Cause bodily injury to them
  • Sexually assault or otherwise violate them 
  • Interfere with the governmental or political function
  • Use or show a deadly weapon during the crime

Is Aggravating Kidnapping a First Degree Felony?

Generally yes. If found guilty of aggravated kidnapping in the first degree, the person may receive:

  • From five to 99 years in prison
  • $10,000 fine
  • Both a fine and prison time

Can I Be Charged with a Felony in the Second Degree for Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas?

Yes. Texas allows an aggravated kidnapping charge to be downgraded when a person can prove they voluntarily released a victim in a safe place. It is up to the person to prove this by a preponderance of the evidence.

What Is the Punishment for Aggravated Kidnapping in the Second Degree?

Punishment for a person who is convicted of aggravated kidnapping in the second degree is two to 20 years in prison, $10,000 fine, or both.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer?

Aggravated kidnapping is a serious crime, and fighting such a serious crime is a difficult battle. If you are facing an aggravated kidnapping charge, you need to talk to a Texas criminal lawyer about fighting your aggravating kidnapping charge.