Unlawful Restraint

If you or someone you care about is facing an unlawful restraint charge in Dallas it is important to know what is on the line. Police, prosecutors, and courts take unlawful restraint accusations very seriously and prosecute them vigorously. An unlawful restraint conviction can result in lengthy jail or prison time and hefty fines. It also can also carry other serious consequences like damage to your reputation and a permanent criminal record. This could interfere with employment opportunities and harm your and your family’s future. In some circumstances, you can lose of the right to own or possess a firearm.

At the Law Office of Mike Howard we understand all of this. Innocent people get arrested, charged, and even convicted when they don’t have an experienced Dallas unlawful restraint lawyer on their side. Don’t put yourself or your loved one in just anyone’s hands; you need an experienced Dallas unlawful restraint attorney in your corner.

Dallas Unlawful Restraint Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been accused of unlawful restraint in Dallas, contact the Law Office of Mike Howard. Most importantly, Dallas unlawful restraint lawyer Mike Howard has the experience, trial skills, and dedication that you need when you are fighting for your life. We will do everything we can to fight for you. Moreover, Mr. Howard will give you an honest assessment of your case and explain the law and your legal options.

A Different Kind of Lawyer

We approach our clients differently than a lot of lawyers. Above all, our philosophy is that being a great lawyer is more than getting you a great result. First, our office is centered around you. This means we start by truly listening to you to understand your case and your goals. Further, our team works to provide you a client experience that is as easy and stress-free as possible. Answering your questions and keeping you informed is very important to us. Most importantly, we treat you as a person, not a number. Finally, our goal is to achieve the best possible result for you. If you’re looking for a different kind of lawyer you’ve come to the right place.

Listen & Understand

We focus on clients as real people. First, we list to understand who you are and what you need. Then we make sure we fully understand the facts of the case.

Open Communication

We explain the law, your rights, and the legal process. Because communication is very important to us, we strive to quickly answer questions and return communication.

Fight for Justice

Simply put: we fight hard for you. In the courtroom, in negotiations, and before a case even is officially opened, we fight for justice for you.

Unlawful Restraint Charges in Dallas

A person commits unlawful restraint (Texas Penal Code § 20.02) if they intentionally or knowingly restrain another person.

“Restrain” means to restrict a person’s movements without consent. The restriction of movement must substantially interfere with the person’s liberty. A person can restrain another by confining them or by moving them from one area to another.

Restraint is “without consent” if it is accomplished by:

  • force, intimidation, or deception. OR
  • any means, including acquiescence of the victim, if:
    • the victim is a child who is less than 14 years of age or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement. OR
    • the victim is a child who is 14 years of age or older and younger than 17 years of age, the victim is taken outside of the state and outside a 120-mile radius from the victim’s residence, and the parent, guardian, or person or institution acting in loco parentis has not acquiesced in the movement.

Related Charges

Kidnapping and aggravating kidnapping are similar criminal offenses to unlawful restraint. For more information, see our kidnapping page. See our violent crimes page for more information about other related violent crimes.

Resources and Information

See our criminal defense resource center for more information on fundamental rights in a criminal case, definitions of culpable mental states (intentionally, knowingly, etc), defenses to prosecution, and more.

Unlawful Restraint Penalties

Unlawful restraint is generally a Class A misdemeanor. As a result, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

If, however, the alleged victim is younger than 17 years of age, unlawful restraint becomes a state jail felony. As a result, you could face 180 days – 2 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Unlawful restraint becomes a third-degree felony if:

  • the actor recklessly exposes the alleged victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury. OR
  • the actor restrains someone they know to be a public servant lawfully discharging their official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a peace officer or judge. OR
  • while in custody, the actor restrains any other person.

As a result, you could face 2 – 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Defending Unlawful Restraint Charges in Dallas

First and foremost, the prosecutor must prove their allegation beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot rule out each and every possible reasonable doubt, the presumption of innocence prevails. As a result, the court must find you not guilty. This means you don’t have to prove that you didn’t do it. You don’t have to prove anything!

The only way the prosecution wins is if the jury believes their story is the only reasonable way it could’ve happened. If they have any reasonable doubts that it actually happened, they must find you not guilty. If they reasonably think it could’ve happened another way, they must find you not guilty. This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system. When implemented by a skilled Dallas unlawful restraint attorney, it can be a powerful weapon.

Furthermore, it is an affirmative defense for a relative of a child to restraint a child younger than 14 years of age with the sole intent to assume lawful control of the child.

Choosing the Right Unlawful Restraint Lawyer in Dallas

Searching for unlawful restraint lawyers in Dallas can be overwhelming. After all, you are choosing someone who will hold your life, your future, and your family’s future in their hands. You have to be comfortable with them and feel that you can trust the information and advice they give you. Attorneys are supposed to always work in their clients’ best interest. That shouldn’t just be meaningless talk.

First, talk to several lawyers to get a feel for them and their staff. Do they take the time necessary to get to know you, to listen to what’s important to you, and answer your questions? Do they show you that you matter to them as a person and not just as a fee? Beware of lawyers who put the hard sell on you, who make big promises. No attorney should ever make a guarantee about a case. Absolutely avoid a lawyer who doesn’t communicate the scope of the work and their fee clearly in a written contract.

What Makes Mike Howard Different

Many lawyers take advantage of their clients’ ignorance of the criminal justice process. We take the opposite approach. A knowledgeable client is a happy client. Therefore, we provide a wealth of information in the way of articles about criminal offenses, blog posts, and videos for free on our website.

Visit Our YouTube Channel for informational videos and client testimonials.
Visit Our blog for posts on cases, defenses, and criminal law information.

Dallas Unlawful Restraint Attorney Mike Howard

Above all, I strive to help my clients through difficult times with compassion and integrity. In Dallas innocent people can get accused, charged, and convicted when they don’t have a Dallas unlawful restraint attorney fighting for them. I believe in standing up for people facing criminal accusations and helping them navigate all that comes with being thrown into the criminal justice system.


The cornerstone of my law practice is focusing on my clients as individuals.  I start by taking the time to understand not just the facts of their case, but who they are and what they need. Because I know the criminal justice system can be intimidating, I explain the process, their rights, and their options. Client communication is extremely important to me, so I make sure my team and I do everything possible to quickly answer questions and return messages.

Willing to Fight

Most importantly, I am willing to fight a case in court.  I have a track record of delivering fantastic results at trial. While not every client and case needs to go to trial, it can make a difference. When your Dallas unlawful restraint attorney has a reputation as a skillful trial lawyer who fights for their clients, however, it makes all the difference in the world.