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The Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers at Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon have experience helping clients defend against False Imprisonment cases. If you have been arrested for false imprisonment in or near Jacksonville, give us a call to discuss your options and defense strategies.
What is False Imprisonment?
In Florida, false imprisonment is a crime where one person confines, abducts or imprisons or restrains another person against that persons will and without lawful authority. It is much like kidnapping, but kidnapping has the additional requirement of one of the following being present: intent to hold for ransom or as a shield, intent to commit a felony, intent to inflict bodily harm upon , or intent to interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function.
What are the elements of False Imprisonment?
In order for the State of Florida to convict someone of False Imprisonment, the State must prove two elements. First, the State must prove that you forcibly secretly or by threat confined, abducted, imprisoned, or restrained the victim against his or her will. Second, the State must prove that you had no lawful authority to confine, abduct, imprison, or restrain the victim. The State must prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
How do you get charged with False Imprisonment?
Most false imprisonment cases involve domestic disputes where family members or significant others get into an argument and one attempts to prevent the other from leaving. The police usually get involved when the listed victim or a witness calls the police to report the dispute. The police often will arrest one of the parties even if the listed victim does not want the person arrested. If the police have any one person's statement that one individual confined or restrained a person against their will, that, in and of itself, can be enough to support probable cause to make an arrest. That doesn't mean, however, that there will be enough evidence to support a conviction.
What are some examples of False Imprisonment?
False imprisonment often is charged in conjunction with other offenses. For example, if a person is charged with armed robbery and during the commission of the robbery, the listed victim is not allowed to leave, the police may charge both armed robbery and false imprisonment. False imprisonment is also often charged in conjunction with a domestic violence arrest. If a listed victim tells police that a person committed a battery and restrained them, the police may charge both domestic battery and false imprisonment.
What are the defenses to False Imprisonment?
The most common defense to false imprisonment will be lack of evidence. The burden of proof is on the State to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Oftentimes, the only evidence that the State has is the testimony of the listed victim and/or biased witnesses. These cases often involve he said/she said evidence. Often, there is no corroborating evidence. Sometimes, the listed victim and/or witnesses change their stories or provide conflicting statements about what happened.
Another common defense to false imprisonment is lawful authority to confine, abduct, imprison or restrain the listed victim. For example, if a person was committing a crime and a citizen conducts a citizen's arrest by restraining the person until the police arrived. However, every citizen should be extremely cautious when contemplating a citizen's arrest, as it is not only personally dangerous, but also may be considered illegal conduct. Whether a citizen's arrest is lawful and whether it can be used as a defense in any case would be subject to litigation and judicial determinations.
Each case is different and some are stronger than others, so it is important to discuss any specific case details with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
How much time can I get for False Imprisonment in Jacksonville?
False imprisonment in Florida is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison.
It is a first degree felony punishable by up to life if the false imprisonment is upon a child who is 12 years old or younger and during the commission of the false imprisonment, the person commits an aggravated child abuse, sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious exhibition, certain prostitution of children violations, exploitation of a child or allowing the child to be exploited. or human trafficking violations.