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Differences Between Kidnapping, Abduction and Unlawful Restraint

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Texas kidnapping offenses are frightening, and they can drastically change a person’s life. Although the elements of individual cases may play out differently, all charges are centered on the fact someone has been unlawfully taken against their will. Most instances of these crimes are characterized by the intent of the perpetrator. The intent could be ransom money, terrorism or facilitating other illegal activities.

Elements of Taking Somebody Against Their Will

In order for a charge to be filed, certain elements must be established. In legal terms, kidnapping charges usually involve intentionally stealing a person without their permission for the purpose of demanding a ransom for their safe return. This definition also includes illicitly transporting the person a certain distance after taking them.

Abduction and Illegal Restraint

There are two additional elements that can come into play in most kidnap cases: abduction and illicit restraint. Each of these offenses represent a distinct type of kidnapping. They are defined as:

  • Abduction: This behavior occurs when one person takes another without their consent and keeps them from escaping by hiding them or threatening them.
  • Unlawful restraining: “Restraining” refers to the physical action of preventing someone from moving, obviously without their consent. This can be accomplished by moving the person or confining them.

Stealing Someone Penalties

Depending on the case, the charges of human abduction or unlawful restraint can be added to a charge to enhance the penalty. Also, an accusation of simple kidnapping can be upgraded to an aggravated crime if certain behaviors occur. Some punishments include:

  • An attempt to kidnap is usually prosecuted as a third-degree felony. This is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Restraint is usually categorized as Class A misdemeanor but can be upgraded to a third-degree felony if the confined person is under 17 or was recklessly endangered.
  • Aggravated charges may result if a weapon was used during the act.

For a better understanding of the differences between these offenses, set up a meeting with Brett Podolsky at 713-227-0087.

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