For Those Charged With a Crime
Legal Defense Against Kidnapping Charges
Protecting the Rights of the Accused in Texas
According to the Texas Penal Code, kidnapping represents a criminal act of knowingly or intentionally abducting someone else. You do not have to use violence or have a weapon in your possession at the time of an abduction. The Texas Penal Code defines “Abduction” to be the act of “restraining an individual with the intention of preventing their freedom by threatening to use deadly force, holding them in a location where they are not likely to be found, or both.”
If you face a kidnapping charge, you should know the penalties for a conviction of the crime can change your life forever. In addition to numerous years spent in prison, you can expect to pay a substantial fine. You will also suffer from a permanent stain on your record that will limit your housing and employment options. To prevent a kidnapping charge from morphing into a kidnapping conviction, you should speak with Texas licensed criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo. Mr. Capetillo will perform an exhaustive investigation into your case to determine which of the possible defenses will help exonerate you of all charges.
The Texas Penal Code makes a legal distinction between kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping. Considered a first or second-degree felony, aggravated kidnapping is a serious crime that claims a defendant knowingly or intentionally abducted someone else for the purpose of holding the victim for a reward or ransom money. It is also considered aggravated kidnapping under Texas law if a defendant used the victim as a shield or inflicted bodily harm on the victim after the alleged aggravated kidnapping took place. Aggravated kidnapping can involve sexual abuse, as well as the physical and/or emotional terrorizing of a kidnap victim.
Punishment for Kidnapping and Aggravated Kidnapping
Since kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping are two distinct crimes, each crime carries with it a different set of penalties. Kidnapping in Texas is a third-degree felony that carries a penalty of between two and 10 years in prison, as well as up to a $10,000 fine. As a first or second degree felony, aggravated kidnapping can trigger a life sentence in jail. The seriousness of either criminal charge should motivate you to speak with successful Texas criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo.
How to Defend against Kidnapping Charges
Despite being two different criminal charges, fighting against the charge of kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping requires using one of the similar defense options. The prosecution must prove you committed a kidnapping “Beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means every juror must be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. How to plant the seed of reasonable doubt involves using one of the following defenses to fight a charge of kidnapping.
This defense works for cases that involve a custody arrangement between two divorced spouses. It is possible for a defendant not to understand how the custody arrangement works, which can lead to a spouse taking a child away from a home by mistake. Another possible mistake is driving away in a vehicle such as a van not knowing there is another person riding in the back of the van.
Forced to Commit the Crime
Coercion is an effective defense if Adam Capetillo can prove you were threatened or blackmailed to commit the crime. Evidence to prove coercion can include tape-recorded phone calls and the testimony provided by one or more credible eyewitnesses. Medical documents demonstrating injuries can also help Mr. Capetillo form a strong defense that leads to the dropping of kidnapping charges.
Texas kidnapping statutes clearly define kidnapping as a crime when it involves moving another person against his or her will. Sometimes, a kidnapping charge is thrown out of the court because the victim consented to be moved to another location. Proving this defense can be a challenge, but it works when Adam Capetillo can get the victim to reveal the true nature of the circumstances leading up to the alleged crime. A victim might also recant what was said during the initial police interview.
Violation of the 4th Amendment
Proving the charge of kidnapping or aggravated kidnapping requires the prosecution to present compelling physical evidence linking a defendant to the alleged crime. This often means law enforcement must search the vehicle and residence of a defendant to find physical evidence. Legally proper searches require law enforcement to obtain a warrant approved by a judge. We have successfully defended many criminal cases that involved the improper attainment of a search warrant or the fact there was no search warrant at all.