For Those Charged With a Crime
Criminal Defense if Charged with Unlawful Restraint
Defending Your Rights Against Unlawful Charges
Considered a criminal offense that typically carries with it a lesser penalty than the punishment handed down for a kidnapping conviction, an unlawful restraint conviction still requires a vigorous defense only a seasoned criminal defense attorney can provide. Texas licensed criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo will work with you to find out which of the possible defenses for an unlawful restraint charge works best for your unique case.
Prosecutors often pursue an unlawful restraint charge when there is not enough evidence to support the criminal charge of kidnapping. Kidnapping is the criminal act of intentionally abducting a victim, while unlawful restraint refers to knowingly restraining a victim. Although considered the lesser criminal offense, facing an unlawful restraint charge can trigger a felony conviction.
How the Texas Penal Code Defines Unlawful Restraint
The key to understanding the charge of unlawful restraint involves knowing how the Texas Penal Code defines the word restrain. According to Section 20.01(1) of the Texas Penal Code, restrain means “to restrict 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.” Restraint without the consent of an alleged victim is accomplished under Texas criminal law by using force, intimidation, and/or deception.
Penalties for an Unlawful Restraint Conviction
Under Texas criminal law, the punishment for an unlawful restraint conviction usually results in a Class A misdemeanor that carries with it a jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of no more than $4,000. An unlawful restraint conviction ramps up the penalty to a state jail felony if the defendant restrained a child younger than 17 years old.
Occasionally, the State of Texas will seek a third-degree felony conviction for an unlawful restraint charge, which can lead to a prison sentence up to 10 years, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000. A third-degree felony conviction for unlawful restraint requires prosecutors to prove the defendant seriously injured the victim. Any unlawful restraint charge for restraining a public official can also trigger a third-degree felony conviction.
How to Defend a Charge of Unlawful Restraint
Successfully defending an unlawful restraint charge requires the legal expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows exactly what type of defense to use for exonerating a client of all charges. The first defense to consider is called affirmative defense.
Using the Affirmative Defense
Texas criminal law allows for the affirmative defense for unlawful restraint under three legal conditions. First, the affirmative defense works in cases that involved the restraint of a child younger than 14 years of age. The defendant has to be a relative of the child under 14 years old and the defendant’s only intent was to take lawful control of the child. We can use the affirmative defense in cases that involved the restraint of a child between 14 and 17 years old if the defendant did not use force, intimidation, and/or deception to restrain the child.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
All criminal cases require the guilty verdicts to be delivered “Beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means every juror hearing a case involving an unlawful restraint charge must believe the defendant is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. One of the most effective ways to plant the seed of reasonable doubt into the minds of the jury is to present evidence that contradicts the evidence presented by the prosecution. We can also plant the seed of doubt by proving at least parts of the testimony given by an eyewitness is not true.
Lack of Evidence
Proving an unlawful restraint charge is difficult to do if there is insufficient evidence to back the claims made by the prosecution. Criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo and his team will work hard to challenge every piece of evidence introduced by the prosecution team. When appropriate, we will contest the validity of physical evidence, as well as ask the Judge to exclude evidence we believe is not worthy of consideration.
As the legal backbone of the United States, the Constitution includes several rights that are granted to defendants in criminal cases. One right is covered by the 4th Amendment, which prohibits invalid searches and seizures. A valid search warrant issued by a judge is the only way a law enforcement agency can enter your home or apartment to collect evidence. You are also given the right to an attorney and you have the right not to incriminate yourself. Any proven violations of the United States Constitution should prompt the judge to exclude evidence which may lead to dismissal of the charges of unlawful restraint.
If you face the criminal charge of unlawful restraint, you cannot afford to place your future in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Not only are the legal consequences serious for an unlawful restraint conviction, but you can also expect to have difficulty securing gainful employment because of your criminal record. Schedule a free initial consultation today with criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo to determine the best course of legal action.