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Can I Be Charged with Kidnapping for Taking My Own Child in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Forth Worth kidnapping defense attorney

If you are a parent, facing criminal charges for a crime against your child may be one of the last things you ever expect to happen to you. Kidnapping laws are intended to prevent children from being abducted and taken into dangerous situations. However, many people do not realize that a child’s biological parent can also be charged with kidnapping under some circumstances. A kidnapping charge can result in heavy fines, incarceration, and the loss of child custody privileges. If you have been accused of kidnapping your child, speak to a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling crimes against children as soon as possible.

Texas Laws Regarding Child Abduction

According to the Texas Penal Code, any individual who knowingly abducts another person can be charged with kidnapping. Although there is not an offense classified as “parental kidnapping” in Texas law, parents can and have been charged with kidnapping for “abducting” their own biological child. Texas law defines “abduct” as limiting a person’s freedom by holding him or her in a place where he or she is unlikely to be found or reducing the individual’s movement by the use or threat of force.

There are several situations in which a parent could face criminal charges and severe civil consequences for taking his or her own child from the other parent. Often, parental kidnapping charges result from a contentious custody battle. For example, if a parent is subject to a child custody order stating that he or she does not have visitation rights, but the parent takes the child in violation of the court order, that parent may be charged with kidnapping. Parents may also face kidnapping charges for taking their child out of state during an open custody lawsuit. In other situations, a person such as a stepparent or nonbiological caretaker of the child may face kidnapping charges if they do not have the legal right to take the child.

Criminal Penalties for Kidnapping a Child

Kidnapping a minor, even if it is your own child, is a third-degree felony offense in Texas. If convicted, an individual accused of kidnapping could spend up to 10 years in prison. A kidnapping charge may be raised to an aggravated kidnapping charge if the alleged abductor intends to do any of the following:

  • Injure or sexually abuse the child

  • Intimidate the child’s other parent

  • Hold the child for ransom

  • Use the child as a hostage

  • Enable another felony crime through the kidnapping 

  • Hinder a governmental or political function

Aggravated kidnapping is typically a first-degree felony offense punishable by up to life in prison.

Contact a Collin County Kidnapping Defense Lawyer

Whatever the circumstances, being accused of kidnapping a child is a serious accusation. If you are convicted of abducting a child, you could potentially face years or decades of incarceration and the loss of your parental rights. If you or a loved one has been accused of kidnapping, contact The Crowder Law Firm P.C. as soon as possible for the legal support and guidance you need. Call our office today at 214-303-9600 to schedule your free, confidential consultation with a highly experienced Plano, Texas criminal defense attorney.

Source:
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.20.htm

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