Most people think of false imprisonment as the act of illegally holding someone against their will and while that is a form of the crime, it is only one form of false imprisonment. In fact, in some cases, the crime is actually just a lesser form of kidnapping. If you have any questions about false imprisonment and whether or not you could be accused of this crime or kidnapping, please call Oceanside criminal attorney Peter M. Liss as soon as possible.
Defining False Imprisonment in CA
Contrary to the name, false imprisonment does not require someone actually be put in a jail or even physically restrained. In fact, you can make someone go somewhere and still have it fall under the definition of false imprisonment. Instead, false imprisonment occurs when someone illegally detains, restrains or confines someone else and then makes the victim either go somewhere or stay somewhere against their will. In other words, you force someone to either go or stay somewhere when they don’t want to. In fact, the most common situation where people are charged with false imprisonment is in domestic violence situations where the alleged perpetrator doesn’t let the victim go or leave the residence.
Despite the fact that many people who are stopped for shoplifting or other crimes in stores accuse security guards of false imprisonment, but because the security guards are not unlawfully detaining them, and instead performing citizen’s arrests, the requirements for false imprisonment have not been met.
It’s also worth noting that while kidnapping requires the victim be transported a significant distance through the use of force or fear (or when the victim is 14, through the use of fraud), false imprisonment places no restrictions on whether or not the victim was transported and as long as the victim was detained, confined or restrained illegally, it does not matter how it was accomplished. Similarly, human trafficking charges involve depriving someone of their liberty in order to obtain forced labor or services or with the intent to violate child pornography, pimping and pandering, extortion or blackmail, or any other laws involving commercial sex acts and/or the exploitation of children.
Penalties for False Imprisonment
False imprisonment in California can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. When no violence or threats were used to make the victim comply, the charge will almost always be a misdemeanor. When the crime does involve violence or threats, it will usually be charged as a felony, but may still be a misdemeanor. Your Oceanside false imprisonment lawyer may be able to have felony charges reduced to a misdemeanor or even be able to have more serious kidnapping or human trafficking charges reduced to false imprisonment charges. This can make a big change in your case, given that the maximum penalty for felony false imprisonment is three years but the maximum penalty for kidnapping is eight years in prison and human trafficking can result in penalties of up to 12 years imprisonment.
Fighting False Imprisonment Charges
Aside from plea bargains to reduce the charges against you, your Oceanside false imprisonment attorney may also be able to help you fight the charges entirely. There are many crimes to this defense, which include false allegations, wrongful identification, legal punishment of a child in your care, legal performance of a citizen’s arrest or the victim actually consented to the activity.
If you have been accused of false imprisonment, please call Oceanside criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050. He offers free initial consultations at his office, which is located right across the street from the Vista courthouse and jail.