Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Unlawful Restraint

Unlawful Restraint

Chapter 20 of the Texas Penal Code places restrictions on retraining, abducting, and smuggling persons.

Unlawful Restraint, as per §20.02 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly restrains another person.

“Restrain”, as per §20.01 (1) of the Texas Penal Code, is defined as restricting 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. The offenses listed under this chapter are done “without consent”, meaning the action is accomplished by force, intimidation, or deception (in all cases where a child is under 14, or the person/parent/guardian/institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement). If the individual is between the ages of 14 and 17, and the victim has been taken outside of the state and outside a 120-mile radius from the victim’s residence, and the parents/person/guardian/institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement, the restraint is considered to be without consent.

Unlawful restraint is, typically, a Class A Misdemeanor. If the offense is committed against a victim under the age of 17, it becomes a state jail felony.

If the actor exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, the actor restrains an individual the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant, or the actor while in custody restrains any other person, it becomes a third degree felony.

If the actor restrains an individual the actor knows is a peace officer or judge while the officer or judge is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a peace officer or judge, it becomes a second degree felony.

It is an affirmative defense to the prosecution of unlawful restraint that:

  • the person restrained was a child younger than 14 years of age;

  • the actor was a relative of the child; and

  • the actor's sole intent was to assume lawful control of the child.

If the crime is being charged as a second degree felony, it is an affirmative defense that:

  • the person restrained was a child who is 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age;

  • the actor does not restrain the child by force, intimidation, or deception; and

  • the actor is not more than three years older than the child.

Severity of Crime

Misdemeanor A

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year

  • Fine not to exceed $4,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

THIRD DEGREE FELONY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

SECOND DEGREE FELONY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000