Kidnapping is a delicate issue with a stigma of negativity often exacerbated by the media and popular detective TV shows. However, sadly the people involved are often parents, relatives, or guardians of the victim and the circumstances are both emotionally and legally complicated – such as in a divorce.

If you have been charged with kidnapping or a related offense and believe you were operating fully within your rights you could be eligible under the Texas Penal Code for a reduction or dismissal of your charges. An experienced Dallas violent crimes attorney will be able to examine your case and fight for a more favorable outcome.


Dallas Kidnapping Defense Attorney

The legal team at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is passionate about defending cases like yours and has over two decades of combined criminal defense experience. If you have been charged with a kidnapping-related offense in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Mesquite, Denton, Mckinney, Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, or any of the surrounding areas schedule your free consultation with Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today.

A kidnapping charge doesn’t have to mean a conviction. McConathy and his team will fight to protect your rights. Call (972) 233-5700 or use our online contact form today for your free consultation.

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Restraint vs. Abduct in Texas Law

In the Texas code, there are two very important terms to keep in mind when considering the magnitude of your case. The difference between the terms could mean the difference in what you are charged with and how your case is handled.

Restraint – Texas Penal Code defines restraint as restricting a person’s movement by confining him or her in a certain space and/or moving them from one place to another – both without the individual’s consent. A lack of consent is present if given directly by the victim; the victim is under 14 and his or her parents or guardians have not consented; or if the victim is between 14-17 and is taken either out of state or beyond a 120-mile radius from his or residence

Abduction – Texas Penal Code defines abduction as taking someone with or without his or her consent and preventing rescue by threatening violence and/or hiding the individual.

These terms have a big impact on whether you are charged with a serious felony or a lesser offense, as well as whether or not your case has the potential to be dismissed. It is recommended that you contact an experienced Dallas kidnapping attorney very soon to evaluate your case in relation to these terms.

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Types of Kidnapping in Dallas

The purpose of defining restraint and abduction in the Texas Penal Code is to provide better clarity for the four different categories of kidnapping and how they should be charged. These four categories of kidnapping-related offenses are:

Unlawful Restraint

  • Class A Misdemeanor – Restraint without consent as defined in §20.02 of the Texas Penal Code
  • State Jail Felony – Victim of unlawful restraint is under 17
  • Third-Degree Felony – Defendant allegedly recklessly endangered the restrained person, or restrained person was a public servant

Unlawful Transport

  • State Jail Felony – Defendant allegedly abducted individuals (as defined in §20.01) so they are hidden from law enforcement and there is a significant risk of individual suffering serious bodily injury or death


  • Third-Degree Felony – Kidnapping alone has the simple definition of the alleged defendant abducting the victim as defined in Texas State Penal Code §20.01.

Aggravated Kidnapping

  • First-Degree Felony – In addition to abduction, the defendant must have also allegedly held the victim for ransom, hostage, leveraging, or human shield; terrorized, inflicted bodily harm or sexual abuse, or used a deadly weapon on the victim; and/or interfered with government or political function
  • Second-Degree Felony – Possible when the defendant allegedly released the victim voluntarily to a safe place

All of these offenses have a large impact on your future livelihood and freedom and should be taken extremely seriously. Depending on different factors in the case, such as your relationship to the alleged victim, there may be mitigating circumstances that change the severity of the charges. An experienced Metroplex kidnapping defense lawyer will be able to meticulously review your case and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

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Potential Penalties for Kidnapping Offenses in Texas

The following are the maximum consequences for a conviction of a kidnapping or related offense in the state of Texas:

Class A Misdemeanor

  • Simple unlawful restraint
  • $4,000 fine
  • 1 year of jail and/or probation

State Jail Felony

  • Unlawful restraint of a minor
  • Simple unlawful transport
  • $10,000 fine
  • 2 years of jail and/or probation

Third-Degree Felony

  • Unlawful restraint with reckless endangerment of victim
  • Unlawful restraint of public servant
  • $10,000 fine
  • 10 years of jail and/or probation

Second-Degree Felony

  • Aggravated kidnapping with the voluntary release of the victim
  • $10,000 fine
  • 20 years of jail and/or probation

First-Degree Felony

  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • $10,000 fine
  • 99 years of jail and/or probation

There are several mitigating circumstances allowed for in the Texas code, including the ages of the defendant and the victim, their relationship, and whether any violence or ulterior motives were present. It is important to contact an experienced Fort Worth kidnapping lawyer to determine if any of these circumstances apply in order for a case reduction or dismissal.

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Find a Fort Worth Kidnapping Defense Lawyer | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

Kidnapping is a severe, emotionally-charged offense the state of Texas takes very seriously. If you have been charged with a kidnapping-related offense in the counties of Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Denton, or the surrounding areas, protect your rights by calling the experienced DFW criminal defense attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today.

The first consultation is free—so what do you have to lose? Call (972) 233-5700 or submit our online contact form as soon as possible.

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