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Is False Imprisonment Criminal Law?

Is False Imprisonment Criminal Law?

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Is False Imprisonment Criminal Law?

When someone is restrained by another person without legal justification or authority, it is known as “false imprisonment.” Many people are unsure about the nature of false imprisonment criminal law. 

This type of unlawful behavior can be grounds for criminal charges or civil cases. Below, we will discuss several of the most important issues related to false imprisonment criminal law. 

When false imprisonment is considered under tort law, it qualifies as an “intentional” tort. This means that the action was the result of the defendant’s intention. 

If you or someone you love has been affected by an act of false imprisonment, you may have a valid legal claim. With the help of a skilled tort attorney, you can pursue the financial compensation that you are rightfully owed. 

For questions about false imprisonment criminal law or tort law, reach out to the accomplished legal experts at Morgan & Morgan. Our team has years of experience recovering financial compensation for our clients. 

You deserve compensation for the emotional distress and anguish that results from a case of false imprisonment. To schedule a no-cost and no-obligation legal consultation, complete the contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website today.

Understanding False Imprisonment

False imprisonment criminal law covers instances when someone restrains another person and confines them within a “bounded” area. This criminal action is intentional.  

In general, cases of false imprisonment involve the following factors: 

  • Willful action on the part of the defendant
  • Confining the victim without their consent or lawful authority
  • The defendant’s action confines the victim
  • The victim is aware of their confinement 

If an instance meets these criteria, it qualifies as an illegal action under false imprisonment criminal law. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you have experienced false imprisonment.

Bounded Areas

Many different circumstances can involve confining a person within a bounded area. For instance, confining someone behind a locked door qualifies as a bounded area. 

The use of physical force to confine or restrain the victim also counts. Bounded areas are those that restrict the victim’s freedom of movement in all directions.  

When a person has a reasonable means of leaving a situation, the location is not a bounded area. Bounded areas can also be: 

  • Failure to release the victim
  • Restraint using physical force
  • Use of invalid legal authority 

Threats of force to the family of the detainee also make a location qualify as “bounded.” If the victim will face physical harm by attempting to leave, the situation counts as a bounded area.

False Imprisonment Threats

In many instances, threats of immediate force can qualify as illegal restraint under false imprisonment criminal law. When someone threatens to imprison another person, it does not count as false imprisonment. 

To determine whether an instance counts as false imprisonment, the court will decide whether the victim was reasonably afraid for their safety. It can be difficult to show that the defendant intended to confine the plaintiff. 

Because of this, it is important to consult with an attorney who understands false imprisonment criminal law. This is true even when filing a civil claim for monetary damages. 

The knowledgeable legal team at the firm of Morgan & Morgan knows how to fight effectively for the best interests of victims.

Common Examples of False Imprisonment

Many different scenarios can result in a claim of false imprisonment. Some of the most common examples include: 

  • Someone being locked in a room without their consent
  • Someone physically holding another person without their consent
  • A store owner detaining someone based only on their appearance
  • A security guard unreasonably restraining someone
  • An employee being questioned for an unreasonable amount of time
  • Medicating a patient without their consent under threat of force
  • And more 

No matter the circumstances of your false imprisonment claim, make sure to speak with an experienced attorney. 

Typical Defenses to False Imprisonment

When someone faces a charge of false imprisonment, many defenses are available to them. These cases are usually decided based on whether the victim provided consent. 

Some instances of potential false imprisonment are determined based on whether the restraint was legally justified. The most common defenses for claims of false imprisonment include:

Voluntary Detainment and Consent

When a person provides consent to be confined, they will be unable to pursue financial damages for false imprisonment. This is also true when someone is confined:

  • Without duress
  • Without coercion
  • Without fraud 

To determine whether your case involves explicit or implied consent, speak with a seasoned legal professional.

Police Privilege

In every state, law enforcement officers have the legal right to detain suspects if they have probable cause. If a police officer believes that a crime has been committed, they can detain the suspected criminal legally. 

“Probable cause” is the name of the legal basis by which police officers can legally arrest someone or conduct searches. A law enforcement officer can claim probable cause when the circumstances and facts would lead a reasonable person to think a crime has been committed.

If you were detained by a police officer who had probable cause, you will not have grounds for a valid false imprisonment case.

Shopkeeper’s Privilege

Many states in the country have passed laws that protect business owners from many claims of false imprisonment. These state laws permit merchants to detain people when they reasonably believe the person has committed an act of theft. 

These laws are most relevant in the context of retail theft. When a shop owner believes that a person has stolen from them, they can detain the person for a reasonable amount of time.  

Typically, business owners can detain a person for the purposes of:

  • Requesting valid identification
  • Asking whether they purchased the merchandise in question
  • Awaiting a police officer 

If this type of detention results in a tort claim, the court will determine whether the shopkeeper’s actions were reasonable. Even if the detained person is found guilty of shoplifting, they can pursue financial compensation if there was unreasonable detention.

Citizen’s Arrest

In some situations, someone who is not a police officer is legally permitted to make a “citizen’s arrest.” They can do so by detaining the person attempting to commit a crime and contacting law enforcement.

Common Examples of Compensation in False Imprisonment Tort Cases

If you or someone you know has been wrongfully detained, you may have legal recourse to secure compensation. Like other types of tort claims, both “economic” and “non-economic” damages may be available to the victims of false imprisonment. 

This is especially true if the wrongful detention resulted in injuries.

Economic Damages

This type of monetary compensation is intended to restore the victim of false imprisonment to their previous financial situation. Some of the typical examples of economic damages in false imprisonment cases include: 

  • The cost of current and past medical treatments
  • The anticipated cost of future treatments
  • Lost income and wages from missed work
  • Lost employment opportunities or business

Not every type of negative outcome results in a direct monetary loss. Some of the consequences of false imprisonment are personal and emotional. 

With the help of a skilled legal professional, victims can pursue payments for these intangible losses, as well. These are known as “non-economic” damages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are meant to repay the victim for their intangible losses. Some of the most typical examples of non-economic damages in false imprisonment cases include:

  • Emotional distress and anguish
  • Panic, anxiety, and depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Humiliation and shame
  • Damage to the victim’s reputation
  • And more

If you or someone you love has experienced these negative consequences due to false imprisonment, it is vital to speak with an attorney. A knowledgeable tort lawyer at Morgan & Morgan will fight diligently to recover all of the monetary compensation that you are rightfully owed.

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Morgan & Morgan

  • How Are False Imprisonment Tort Lawyers Paid?

    The most reputable civil lawyers are compensated through contingency fee payment structures. With this approach, the client and lawyer agree to a specific percentage of the financial recovery from the case. 

    After the attorney successfully wins or settles the false imprisonment claim, the agreed-upon percentage is used to cover the cost of legal services. Contingency fees allow all victims to pursue justice, regardless of their financial status. 

    When you hire the experts at Morgan & Morgan, we will not rest until you recover the financial compensation that you are owed. Make sure to contact our firm to hold negligent parties accountable for the damages that they cause.

  • What Is the Difference Between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

    To many people, it seems that false imprisonment and kidnapping are the same. This is a misconception.  

    Under the law, these two actions are distinct concepts. Kidnapping occurs when one person abducts another and takes them to a separate location.  

    False imprisonment, on the other hand, involves stopping a person from leaving of their own accord. False imprisonment does not involve taking the victim to a different location.

  • What Is the Difference Between Intentional and Unintentional Torts?

    When a tort is intentional, the person who engaged in the harmful act did so for the purpose of harming the victim. Unlike intentional tort cases, most civil cases revolve around the legal concept of “negligence.” 

    Negligence happens when a person, company, or other entity is careless in a way that causes harm. Negligence can involve either a harmful action or the absence of an appropriate safety measure. 

    Regardless of the circumstances of your injury or accident case, consulting with a tort attorney will give you the highest chance of recovering the financial compensation you need. The firm of Morgan & Morgan is ready to build a powerful case for you.

  • Morgan & Morgan Is on Your Side

    When you need the most reliable legal representation in the country, do not settle for any firm other than Morgan & Morgan. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have decades of experience effectively representing clients. 

    If you or someone you love was wrongfully detained, our legal experts can help. Do not allow negligent or intentionally harmful parties to escape accountability. 

    To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, complete the simple contact form on our firm’s website. When you hire Morgan & Morgan, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands.

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