Aggravated Kidnapping

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

“Aggravated Kidnapping”, as per § 20.03 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when an individual intentionally or knowingly abducts another person, while also engaging in one of the additional criteria listed below.

“Abduct”, as per §20.01 (2) of the Texas Penal Code, is defined as restraining a person with the intent to prevent his liberation by secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found, or by the use of deadly force or threatening to use deadly force.

In order to rise to the level of aggravated kidnapping, a person must knowingly or intentionally abduct another person with the intent to:

  • Hold him for ransom or reward
  • Use him as a shield or hostage
  • facilitate the commission of a felony or the flight after the attempt or commission of a felony
  • inflict bodily injury on him or violate or abuse him sexually
  • terrorize him or a third person
  • interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function

A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.

Aggravated kidnapping is a first degree felony and carries with it a term of imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine. If, at the punishment stage of trial, the defendant proves that, by a preponderance of the evidence, they voluntarily released the victim to a safe place, the level of severity is lowered to a second degree felony. The punishment for a second degree felony is a term of imprisonment ranging from 2-20 years, as well as a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Punishment Range


  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for life, or
  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 99 years or less than five years with the exception of aggravated sexual assault, which adds a 25-year minimum punishment if the victim is younger than 6, or younger than 14 and the offense contained threats of serious bodily injury or death, or use of a deadly weapon
  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

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