A Denton man was recently arrested after he barricaded himself in his home with his wife and two small children. Law enforcement was initially called to the scene on a domestic disturbance report and was then informed that the man was making irrational statements, armed with a shotgun, and threatening to harm his family. Law enforcement hostage negotiators had to talk to the man for several hours before he eventually surrendered. Fortunately, no one was injured. The man was taken to a nearby jail and charged with unlawful restraint. Unlike kidnapping, which requires an individual to abduct or take someone from one location to another, unlawful restraint simply requires the restraint of another individual and is treated as a particularly serious crime in the state of Texas.
What Constitutes Unlawful Restraint in Texas?
Unlawful restraint in the state of Texas is defined as holding another individual against his or her will. The Texas Penal Code defines this charge in such a way so that there are a variety of situations that can apply to unlawful restraints. Often, unlawful restraint charges are made in addition to other crimes. Texas law does not require intent for unlawful restraint, but only that an individual acts recklessly. A person is considered to act recklessly in the state of Texas if he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or that a result will occur. This risk must be such that its nature and degree constitute a gross derivation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would constitute a gross derivation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise.
The Consequences of an Unlawful Restraint Conviction
In nearly all cases, unlawful restraint is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. There are some situations that can result in this charge being amplified, which include: if an individual restrains a child under the age of seventeen who does not belong to the adult, if an individual recklessly exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, if an individual restrains a public servant, or if an individual is already in custody and restrains another individual. Class A misdemeanors result in individuals facing up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Defending an Unlawful Restraint Charge
Fortunately, there are several methods that individuals use to defend against unlawful restraint charges. Some of the potential defenses include:
- The child was younger than 14 years of age,
- The individual was a relative of the child,
- The individual’s intent was to assume lawful control of the child,
- The individual did not restrain the child by force, intimidation, or deception, and
- The individual is not more than three years older than the child.
Unlawful restraint charges are particularly complex and frequently depend upon the specific facts involved in each case.
Contact an Experienced Denton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful restraint, a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney at The Wheeler Law Firm can help your chances of getting your charges dismissed or reduced. Our legal counsel knows what it takes to prevail in even the most difficult cases. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today.