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Houston Kidnapping Attorney

Kidnapping is an emotionally sensitive issue that often carries a long lasting stigma to the offender. Oftentimes, the people involved in these scenarios are parents, guardians, and relatives of the victim and stem from legally complicated family situations, such as a divorce. If you find yourself embroiled in a kidnapping charge, the possibility exists that you were operating within your right. But you are going to need a capable and experienced Houston kidnapping attorney to wade through the legal difficulties you now face.

With more than 30 years of experience serving clients with aggressive and strategic legal representation, Houston violent crimes lawyer Ned Barnett is passionate about defending the rights of those accused of serious offenses.

If you are facing kidnapping charges in Texas, don’t delay. Contact us online or call (713) 222-6767 and receive a free consultation about your case.

Restraint vs. Abduction

There are two important terms under the Texas legal code that determine the level of charges and penalties applied in your case:


When you take someone without their consent and prevent their rescue by hiding the person or threatening violence.


When you restrict a person’s movement by relocating them from one place to another or confining them to a particular space – both without consent from the victim.

In either scenario, it is important to understand that a lack of consent is present if:

  • Violence was threatened or used to get the victim to submit or participate.
  • The victim is less than 14 years of age and the victim’s parents or guardians have not provided content
  • The victim is 14 to 17 years of age and has been moved out of state or outside of a 120-mile radius from their residence

Four Categories of Kidnapping Charges in Texas

1. Unlawful Restraint

Class A Misdemeanor

  • Restraint with no consent given
  • Penalties – One year of jail and/or probation and $4000 fine

State Jail Felony

  • Victim under 17 years of age
  • Penalties – 180 days to 2 years in prison and/or probation and up to a $10,000 fine

Third-Degree Felony

  • Defendant allegedly recklessly endangered the victim, or the victim was a public servant
  • Penalties – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or probation and up to a $10,000 fine

2. Unlawful Transport

State Jail Felony

  • Defendant allegedly abducted victim causing them to be hidden from law enforcement
  • The victim is at significant risk to suffer bodily injury or death
  • Penalties – 180 days to 2 years in prison and/or probation and up to a $10,000 fine

3. Kidnapping

Third-Degree Felony

  • Defendant allegedly abducted the victim as defined in Texas State Penal Code
  • Penalties – 2 to 10 years in prison and/or probation and up to a $10,000 fine

4. Aggravated Kidnapping

First-Degree Felony

In addition to abduction, a defendant must have also allegedly held the victim for hostage, ransom, as a human shield, or

  • The defendant may have perpetrated bodily harm, terrorized, sexually abused, or used a deadly weapon on the victim
  • The defendant may have interfered with a political or government function
  • Penalties – 5 to 99 years or life in prison and/or probation and up to a $10,000 fine

Second-Degree Felony

  • Possible charge if defendant allegedly released victim voluntarily to a safe location
  • Penalties – 2 to 20 years in prison and/or probation and a fine up to $10,000.

Possible Collateral Consequences

Any of theses kidnapping-related offenses can have a large impact on your future livelihood and freedom and should be taken extremely seriously. You may potentially lose common privileges we often take for granted, such as the freedom to possess firearms, the right to vote, the ability to retain professional licenses, owning a driver’s license, and more.

Possible Defenses to Your Kidnapping Charge

Various factors in your case may be used to defend or help mitigate the charges against you. These can be determined and used by an experienced Houston kidnapping attorney to your advantage.

The state must prove intent in your case. If we can demonstrate that you did not have the intent to commit an aggravated offense, your penalties may be minimized or possibly dismissed. We can explore and, as applicable, pursue one or more of the following defense strategies on your behalf:

  • You were not aware you were committing the offense of kidnapping
  • You have did not intent to use deadly force during the kidnapping
  • Your only aim was to take lawful control or custody of the victim
  • You are a relative of the victim
  • You voluntarily freed the victim to safe place

Contact an Experienced Houston Kidnapping Attorney Right Away

If you have been charged with any type of kidnapping-related offense in or around the Houston area, allow Houston Kidnapping attorney Ned Barnett to work on your behalf and minimize the legal problems you’re facing. You can put his 30 years of legal advocacy experience to work for you. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we have the resources, experience, and skill to form an effective defense strategy, so you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Call today at (713) 222-6767 and request a free consultation so a criminal defense attorney can review your case together and discuss how to move forward.