If you have been arrested in Florida for the crime of false imprisonment, you should know that this is a serious felony offense for which you can face drastic consequences. Florida Statute 787.02 defines false imprisonment as “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against his or her will.” The crime is most closely related to kidnapping, which is almost the same crime except for the element of intent.
False imprisonment is considered a crime of violence among the likes of kidnapping, child abuse, battery and assault. Many arrests for false imprisonment stem from domestic disputes and are usually tacked on to charges of assault and battery. The heart of the crime is the element of constraint. As soon as one’s personal freedom of movement is restricted for any length of time, false imprisonment charges are plausible. To prove false imprisonment, the prosecution must be able to prove just two elements: that the defendant acted in a secretive, forceful or threatening manner to imprison, confine, or abduct the victim against his will; and that the defendant was not legally authorized to hold the victim against his will.
Florida takes the crime of false imprisonment very seriously, classifying it as a felony of the third degree. A third-degree felony in Florida can lead to the following without the counsel of a dedicated Palm Beach criminal defense attorney:
- 5 years of probation or time in a Florida State prison
- A fine of up to $5,000
If the victim of a false imprisonment case is a minor under 13 years of age, the offense is still a third-degree felony; however, Florida elevates the crime to a first-degree felony, for which you can face life in prison, when the crimes of aggravated child abuse, lewd conduct, battery, exhibition, molestation; sexual battery and prostitution have also been committed against the child.
Due to how broadly the constraint element of the crime is defined, false imprisonment charges can be incurred even for a momentary restraint, such as grasping the victim’s arm. If you have been charged with the crime of false imprisonment, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your case as soon as possible. Attorney Brian Gabriel works diligently to uncover the facts surrounding your case to develop a thorough, strong, and compelling defense. The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel serves Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin, and Broward Counties and strives to uphold the rights of the criminally accused of South Florida. Call 561-622-5575 for a free legal consultation today.