Dallas, TX asked in Criminal Law, Child Custody and Juvenile Law for Texas

Q: 17 yr F @ park with 16 yo M. M's g‐ma assaults F. F drives off w/M. F accused of taking a runaway. Police-"Felony".How?

My daughter was at a park with her bf's family. Grandma got confrontational with grandson and my daughter. Told me daughter to leave. Daughter gets in car and calls me. I told her to make sure she doesn't do anything to her bf. Bf gets in car. Gma goes to daughters driver door and disconnects our call, pushes her back and turns car off then starts digging for key and slaps her grandsons hand out of the way. She backed out of the car and drive off quickly so the assault would end. Gma called him in as a runaway. Police said she could be charged with a felony. I said she was escaping assault!! All I can see is a fine of $4,000 and a misdemeanor. I cannot find any circumstance it would become a felony. She crossed a county line bc I told her to go home and that we would go back up to the PD when I was able to meet her there 45 min later as I didn't want her to speak to officers without me.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: 1. Almost nobody actually memorizes the law. There are too many and they change too often. Any halfway decent cop, lawyer, or judge will check the statutes for all but the most common offenses.

2. Your daughter could be arrested and charged with MURDERING the grandma if a cop believes she did it. The fact that grandma is still alive is "just her defense." The good news is that your daughter could only be convicted if she entered a plea of guilty or no contest, or if the prosecution could prove the accusation beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

3. If she were charged with the offense of Harboring a Runaway Child, it is a misdemeanor, not a felony. Also, your daughter would be entitled to the defense to prosecution under Penal Code 25.06(c) because the parent/guardian obviously had "notice" that the BF was with your daughter. A defendant must be acquitted if there is reasonable doubt about a defense to prosecution. See Penal Code 2.03(d).

4. Enticing A Child is a better fit for this fact pattern, but it is only a class B misdemeanor. PC 25.04

5. If the grandma has legal custody of the BF because of a court order, and your daughter knows about the court order, then it could be felony Interference With the Rights of a Guardian. PC 25.10

6. Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint are felonies, but their definitions don't fit unless the BF was taken both outside the state and more than 120 miles from his home. See PC 20.01(1)(B)(ii)

7. Talk to your daughter about the "assault" to be certain she means illegal physical contact. Young people these days sometimes use the word "assault" to describe the use of unpleasant words... which is not illegal. If it was physical then that is assault and escaping assault can be a legitimate Necessity defense to whatever they charge her with. See PC 9.22

8. The cops probably just want to scare her into not doing anything like this again. It is dangerous. Also, if the facts were just a little bit different they would have a better case for Harboring.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.