Kidnapping is defined in many jurisdictions as the unlawful act of taking someone without their consent. The unlawful taking can be done by fraud, force, or threat of violence. Kidnapping also includes confining someone for a substantial period of time without their consent. Kidnapping can be a federal or state crime.

Is Kidnapping a Crime in Texas?

Yes. Texas defines kidnapping as knowingly or intentionally abducting another individual.

Is Unlawful Restraint the Same as Kidnapping?

No. Unlawful restraint in Texas is defined as knowingly or intentionally restraining another individual, not abducting them. Abducting an individual means moving them against their will; restraining a person means keeping them in a location against their will.

Are the Charges of Kidnapping and Smuggling of Persons Used Interchangeably in Texas?

No, they are separate charges. The charge of smuggling a person involves the intent to conceal someone. A kidnapping charge involves taking someone against their will, such as a noncustodial parent kidnapping their child.

Are There Any Defenses to Kidnapping I Can Use in Texas?

Yes. If a person is accused of kidnapping, there are affirmative defenses available to them, such as:


  • The person who abducted the individual did not use or threat to use deadly force, fraud, or violence
  • The person was a relative of the person abducted
  • The person’s intent to kidnap the victim was based on obtaining lawful control of the individual

Is Kidnapping a Misdemeanor or Felony Crime?

In Texas, kidnapping is a felony crime. In fact, a person is charged with a felony of the third degree if they are charged with kidnapping.

What Is a Felony in the Third Degree in Texas?

A third degree felony in Texas is the least serious of all felony charges. A person can spend anywhere from two to 10 years in state prison. The person can be sentenced to paying a $10,000 fine or pay the fine and be sentenced to prison.

Do I Need Legal Help with My Kidnapping Case in Texas?

Any type of felony case is extremely complex. Due to the seriousness of a felony charge, it is better to hire a Texas criminal lawyer to represent you in a felony criminal case such as kidnapping.