Texas Kidnapping/Abduction Laws


Texas law classifies kidnapping into three categories: first degree, second degree and third degree.

According to Texas Penal Code § 20.03, a person commits an offense of kidnapping in third degree if he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.

A person does not commit the crime of abduction in third degree if,

  • abduction is done not with an intent to use or threaten to use deadly force, or
  • abducted person is a relative of the person committing the crime, or
  • sole intent of the person committing the crime is to assume lawful control of the victim.

As per, Tex. Penal Code § 20.04, a person commits the crime of kidnapping in second degree if s/he voluntarily releases the victim in a safe place.

As per the statute, Tex. Penal Code § 20.04, a person commits kidnapping in first degree if s/he intentionally or knowingly abducts another person with intend to:

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

Further, Tex. Penal Code § 20.04, states that a person commits first degree kidnapping if the person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person and uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during kidnapping.

The elements of first degree kidnapping are 1) a person intentionally or knowingly abducts another person 2) the abduction is with intent to terrorize him[i]

According to Texas Penal Code § 12.32, first degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for life or for any term of not more than ninety nine years or less than five years.  In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree is punishable by a fine not exceeding $ 10,000.

As per, Tex. Penal Code § 12.33, second degree felony is punishable for any term of not more than twenty years or less than two years.  In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree is punishable by a fine not exceeding $ 10,000.

Under, Tex. Penal Code § 12.34, third degree felony is punishable by imprisonment for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.  In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree is punishable by a fine not to exceed $ 10,000.

The Department of Public Safety created the criminal law enforcement division in order to prevent, suppress and solve the crime of by working with conjunction with city, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Criminal Law Enforcement Division


[i] Rodriguez v. State, 646 S.W.2d 524, 525 (Tex. App. Houston 1st Dist. 1982)