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tarrant county criminal defense lawyerThere are many different types of situations where a person may be charged with crimes against children, and these cases can not only lead to serious criminal penalties, but they can also affect a parent’s custody of their children. Kidnapping is one offense that is not always fully understood by the general public. Rather than “stranger danger” situations in which a person snatches a child off the street, many of these cases involve a child’s parent or another relative holding or transporting a child without authorization. People who are involved in these types of situations will want to understand how the laws define kidnapping and unlawful restraint of children and the potential penalties they could face for these offenses.

Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint in Texas

The offense of kidnapping involves the intentional abduction of a person in which they are kept or hidden in a place where they are unlikely to be found by others or when the offender uses or threatens to use deadly force. This offense is a third-degree felony. A person who is convicted kidnapping may be imprisoned for 2 to 10 years and fined up to $10,000. However, a person who is accused of kidnapping a child may defend against these charges by demonstrating that they did not intend to use deadly force, that they are a relative of the child who was allegedly abducted (such as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling, including those who are related to a child through marriage or adoption), and that their actions were meant to allow them to maintain “lawful control” of the child.

In cases where a person’s actions did not meet the requirements for a kidnapping charge, they may be charged with unlawful restraint if they restricted another person’s movements without that person’s consent. These charges may apply in situations involving taking a child by force or through intimidation or deception, restraining a child under 14 years old without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, or taking a child between the ages of 14 and 17 outside the state of Texas without a parent or guardian’s consent. 

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plano criminal defense lawyerEven though is it commonly known as the “world’s oldest profession,” prostitution is a crime in most of the United States, including the state of Texas. Those who sell sex for money and those who pay others for sexual intercourse or other sexual activities can face criminal charges. While prostitution and solicitation are usually charged as misdemeanors, charges related to prostitution become much more serious if minors are involved. As with other types of crimes against children, prosecutors are likely to “throw the book” at those who have allegedly forced or encouraged minors to engage in prostitution. Defendants who have been charged with these types of crimes will need to secure representation from an attorney who can help them understand how the laws apply to their case and how they can build an effective defense strategy.

Criminal Charges Related to Child Prostitution

Those who engage in prostitution by offering or agreeing to receive payment in exchange for engaging in sexual conduct may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense. Those who solicit prostitution by offering or agreeing to pay someone else to engage in sexual conduct may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. However, if a prostitute is under the age of 18, this charge may be increased to a second degree felony, even if the person did not know the prostitute’s actual age at the time of the offense. A conviction for a second degree felony can result in a jail sentence of 2 to 20 years, and all felony charges have a maximum fine of $10,000.

Other offenses that can be charged for those who conduct activities related to child prostitution include:

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Fort Worth federal criminal defense attorney

Under Texas law, a person commits criminal homicide if he or she intentionally or negligently causes the death of another individual. Criminal homicide is considered murder when the offender knowingly causes the death of the individual, causes death while intentionally causing serious bodily harm, or causes the death of the individual during the commission of a felony. Depending on the facts of the case, murder may be charged as a first-degree or second-degree felony offense in Texas. However, there are some situations in which murder may also be considered a federal crime

Circumstances in Which the Federal Government Prosecutes Murder Cases

Most federal murder charges result from murders involving drug trafficking or weapons trafficking, or attacks on U.S. government officials. Deaths resulting from certain crimes against children may also result in federal murder charges. Murder is typically a federal criminal offense if:

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Fort Worth criminal law attorney federal drug crimes

The manufacturepossession, and distribution of illicit drugs are prosecuted by both state governments and the federal government. Any drug-related criminal charge can lead to harsh penalties but federal offenses are often penalized more severely than crimes prosecuted by the state. If you have been charged with drug possession with intent to distribute, drug trafficking, or drug manufacturing, it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney. Federal drug crimes are often punished by lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines. Your attorney can help you defend yourself against these charges and ensure that your rights are fully protected.  

Federal Drug Offenses Often Involve the Transportation of Drugs Across State Lines

Often, a drug offense is prosecuted by the federal government because the defendant is alleged to have transported drugs from one state to another or imported the drugs into the U.S. from another country. You may also face federal charges if the crime you allegedly committed:

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