What is Aggravated Kidnapping?
Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas is a first-degree felony. Without further enhancement, the punishment range for Aggravated Kidnapping in Texas is 5-99 years or life in prison along with a fine of up to $10,000.
What is Kidnapping?
Kidnapping is intentionally or knowingly abducting another by restraining them without by consent by moving them from one place to another or confining them with the intent to prevent their liberation. Kidnapping is a second-degree felony.
What does it mean to “restrain” a person?
Penal Code Section 20.01(1) defines the word “restrain” as restriction of a person’s movements without consent, so as to interfere substantially with the person’s liberty, by moving the person from one place to another or by confining the person.
This definition is a little counterintuitive because it seems to cover a lot more than just restraint. For example, if a defendant places this woman in the trunk of his car without her consent, and then either keeps her there, or drives off with her, the defendant has restrained her according to the penal code definition. Restraint without consent is accomplished by force, intimidation, or deception. Restraint without consent is also accomplished by any means, including acquiescence or agreement of the victim if it is a child, 14 or younger, or an incompetent person and the parent or guardian has not agreed to the movement or confinement. Restraint without consent is also accomplished by any means including acquiescence. Notice that you don’t have to physically move someone from one place to another in order to abduct them. You merely need to hold them in a place where they’re not likely to be found.
What does it mean to “abduct” a person?
Penal Code 20.01(2) defines “abduct” as restraining a person with intent to prevent his liberation by: (A) secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found; or (B) using or threatening to use deadly force.
What makes a kidnapping aggravated?
According to Penal Code 20.04, a kidnapping becomes aggravated if the accused:
- held the person for ransom or reward
- used the person as a shield or hostage
- the kidnapping was to facilitate a felony or flight after the commission or attempted commission of the felony
- was abused sexually or inflicted with bodily injury
- terrorized the kidnapped person or another person
- interfered with the performance fo any governmental or political function.
- used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the kidnapping.
Typical Aggravated Kidnapping Sentence
According to data compiled by the Texas Tribune, most individuals convicted of aggravated kidnapping serve sentences greater than 40 years in length.
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Aggravated Kidnapping is a 3G Offense in Texas
Kidnapping as a Federal Offense
18 USC 1201 also makes kidnapping a federal offense if the act took place over state lines, if the kidnapping occurred in a federal territory, or if the person kidnapped is a foreign official or internationally-protected person.
Smuggling of a Person
Related to kidnapping is the offense of Smuggling a Person. Penal Code 20.05 defines smuggling a person as transporting and concealing an individual, for financial benefit, to conceal them from law enforcement or to help them flee from law enforcement.
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Penal Code Section 20.04
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person with the intent to:
(1) hold him for ransom or reward;
(2) use him as a shield or hostage;
(3) facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony;
(4) inflict bodily injury on him or violate or abuse him sexually;
(5) terrorize him or a third person; or
(6) interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
(d) At the punishment stage of a trial, the defendant may raise the issue as to whether he voluntarily released the victim in a safe place. If the defendant proves the issue in the affirmative by a preponderance of the evidence, the offense is a felony of the second degree.