The crime of unlawful restraint is similar to kidnapping, but without an actual abduction. If you restrain another person against their will, you may be charged with unlawful restraint. You could possibly face penalties including steep fines and lengthy prison terms.
It’s common for prosecutors to file unlawful restraint charges when they don’t have enough evidence for kidnapping. However, an unlawful restraint conviction is nothing to laugh at. If convicted, you could have felony charges on your record.
If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful restraint, it’s highly advised that you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney for Unlawful Restraint in Austin, Texas
In Texas, confining someone against their will is a criminal offense. If you have been charged with unlawful restraint contact Kevin Bennett today. He is an experienced attorney who has a strong focus in criminal defense. Contact him today to start your plan of attack.
The first step to an excellent defense is to pick up the phone. You can contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626 today for a free consultation. We represent people throughout all Travis County courts and surrounding areas including Austin, Hyde Park, Sunset Valley and Lago Vista.
Overview of Unlawful Restraint in Texas
- Unlawful Restraint Under Texas Law
- Penalties for Unlawful Restraint
- Kidnapping in Texas
- Statute of Limitations
- Additional Resources
Unlawful Restraint under Texas Law
Imprisoning or restraining another without consent is a crime in Texas. Texas Penal Code § 20.02 states that it’s illegal to intentionally restrain another person. The law defines “restrain” as any action that restricts a person’s movement without consent.
The statute states that restraint “without consent” is defined as:
- Restraining another through force, intimidation or deception; or
- Restraining a minor without the authorization of a parent or guardian.
The penalties for unlawful restraint are elevated if the victim is a public servant or a child. It can also be enhanced if the offender inflicts serious bodily injury because of the restraint.
Penalties for Unlawful Restraint in Austin, Texas
An unlawful restraint conviction is a serious matter. If convicted, you could face a class A misdemeanor. The penalty for a class A misdemeanor includes up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. If the victim is younger than 17, then the crime is a state jail felony.
A state jail felony is punishable by:
- Up to 24 months in state jail; and
- A fine of up to $10,000.
If you do any of the following, your crime will be enhanced to a third-degree felony.
- Unlawfully restrain a person and expose the victim to a substantial risk;
- Unlawfully restrain a public servant; or
- Unlawfully restrain another person while in custody.
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you unlawfully restraint a judge or peace officer, your crime will be a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000.
Kidnapping Under Texas Law
In some cases, unlawful restraint can turn into kidnapping. If you conceal the victim or use deadly force, then the crime is considered to be a kidnapping. Texas is not kind to those convicted of kidnapping. If you are convicted, you could face a third-degree felony.
A third-degree felony is punishable by:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
If you do any of the following the crime is a first-degree felony.
- Hold the victim for a ransom;
- Use the victim as a hostage or shield;
- Physically harm or sexually abuse the victim;
- Abduct the victim after fleeing from a felony;
- Abduct the victim during the commission of a felony;
- Terrorize the victim in any way;
- Show a deadly weapon during the kidnapping; or
- Interferes with the proceedings of a government or political event.
A first-degree felony is punishable with a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit for prosecutors to file criminal charges. If the statute of limitations runs out, the prosecution will be barred from filing charges. In Texas, a crime’s statute of limitations depends on the degree of the offense.
Felonies in Texas have a statute of limitations of three years. So, unlawful restraint and kidnapping offenses have a 3-year statute of limitations. Remember some crimes don’t have a statute of limitations. If you also committed a crime like murder you won’t have a statute of limitations at all.
Texas Unlawful Restraint Statute – Visit the official website for Texas state laws to find more information about unlawful restraint. Access the statutes to learn the charge specifics, what elevates the penalties and other related offenses.
Guymon v. State – Read about James Thomas Guymon, a man who was found guilty of kidnapping and unlawful restraint of a child. Guymon was charged with the crime after a deputy noticed a 11-year old child who was high on paint in the passenger seat of Guymon’s vehicle. The vehicle was stopped on the shoulder by the deputy and had expired license plates. Guymon was convicted but the Thirteenth Court of Appeals vacated the unlawful restraint conviction. On January 12, 2005, the Court of Criminal Appeals stated that the evidence was insufficient to support a kidnapping conviction and renamed for the court of appeals to reconsider the unlawful restraint charge.
Lawyer for Unlawful Restraint in Travis County, Texas
Have you or someone you know been charged with unlawful restraint in Texas? If so, it’s important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can collect evidence, file motions and advocate for you in court.
Contact Kevin Bennett today for quality legal representation. Kevin Bennett will analyze the evidence in your case and develop a strong defense for you. Start your plan of defense with Kevin Bennett as your legal partner. Call us now at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin area and surrounding communities including Lago Vista, Lakeway, Tarrytown, Hyde Park and West Lake Hills.