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Unlawful Restraint in Texas

Tarrant County Unlawful Restraint Lawyer in Fort Worth

Unlawful restraint is a serious offense that can lead to substantial prison time and, in some circumstances, sex offender registration. If you or a loved one is charged with unlawful restraint you need to contact a skilled and knowledgeable Fort Worth criminal defense attorney immediately. The crime is found in Texas Penal Code 20.02. A person commits unlawful restraint if he intentionally or knowingly restrains another person.

The charge for unlawful restraint is a State Jail Felony if the person restrained was a child younger than 17 years of age. The unlawful restraint charge is increased to a Third Degree Felony if the person accused recklessly exposes the “victim” to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury. The charge is also a felony of the third degree if the accused is said to restrain 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. If a person commits unlawful restraint while they are in custody the charge is also a third degree felony. In other circumstances a charge for unlawful restraint is a Class A misdemeanor.

Defense for Unlawful Restraint Charge

Clearly, unlawful restraint cases are serious and you need the best criminal defense attorney you can find. James Luster has experience in and out of the courtroom defending unlawful restraint accusations. You need a lawyer that is going to thoroughly investigate your case and is well equipped to fight your unlawful restraint charge at trial.

Affirmative Defense for Unlawful Restraint

An example of a defense is the “affirmative defense” to unlawful restraint prosecution:(1) the person restrained was a child younger than 14 years of age; (2) the actor was a relative of the child; and (3) the actor's sole intent was to assume lawful control of the child.

It’s also an “affirmative defense” to certain unlawful restraint cases that: (1) the person restrained was a child who is 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age; (2) the actor did not restrain the child by force, intimidation, or deception; and (3) the actor is not more than three years older than the child. Understanding the complexity of presenting an “affirmative defense” or developing another defensive theory is essential for the quality representation unlawful restraint charges.

Sex Offender Registration for Unlawful Restraint Charges

Some unlawful restraint charges require a person to register as a sex offender. Unlawful restraint can be a “reportable conviction or adjudication.” This means a conviction or adjudication (including an adjudication of delinquent conduct or a deferred adjudication) that is a conviction for or an adjudication for or based on an unlawful restraint charge and the judgment in the case contains an affirmative finding under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42.015. This article says that in the trial of an unlawful restraint charge (or an attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit unlawful restraint) the judge shall make an affirmative finding of fact and enter the affirmative finding in the judgment in the case if the judge determines that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age at the time of the offense. It can also be a reportable conviction if the order in the hearing or the papers in the case contain an affirmative finding that the victim or intended victim was younger than 17 years of age.