Agreement to Abduct from Custody
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While many crimes require specific physical action, some crimes are “talking crimes.” In other words, the conversation alone can constitute a crime. An agreement to abduct from custody is just one of those offenses. To be guilty of this offense, several elements must be met during one or more conversations on the subject.
First, there must be a conversation, which can occur orally or in writing, about the abduction of a child. A child is defined for this statute as under the age of 18. The discussion of the abduction must include a plan to use force, threat of force, a misrepresentation, stealth, or unlawful entry to accomplish the abduction. The person who agrees to commit the offense must know the child is under the care and control of a person having lawful custody of the child, or in the care of another who has the consent of the person with lawful custody. This includes both permanent and temporary orders of the court regarding custody. Finally, this agreement must be in exchange for either payment or the promise of payment.
If all of these elements are met, the crime is completed – the abduction does not have to be completed, or even attempted. It is the conversation alone that constitutes the crime.
Punishment for Agreement to Abduct from Custody
Agreement to Abduct from Custody is a state jail felony. State jail felonies are punishable by a minimum of 180 days in jail, and a maximum penalty of two years. Further, a fine may be assessed up to $10,000.
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Penal Code Sec. 25.031
AGREEMENT TO ABDUCT FROM CUSTODY
(a) A person commits an offense if the person agrees, for remuneration or the promise of remuneration, to abduct a child younger than 18 years of age by force, threat of force, misrepresentation, stealth, or unlawful entry, knowing that the child is under the care and control of a person having custody or physical possession of the child under a court order, including a temporary order, or under the care and control of another person who is exercising care and control with the consent of a person having custody or physical possession under a court order, including a temporary order.
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.