It is essential to know and understand the elements of false imprisonment in Florida if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges for the offense. The state legislature details the criteria that actions must meet to result in a conviction for the crime. The consequences and potential penalties for the crime can be quite severe, as it is a felony offense, and it is imperative that you have an aggressive defense attorney fighting on your behalf to prove your innocence.
To learn more about the elements of false imprisonment, and for a free case evaluation to review the unique facts surrounding your criminal charges, contact Weinstein Legal today. Head of the criminal defense division and partner at the firm, attorney Matt Shafran, has years of experience defending clients against this type of charge.
At the Weinstein Legal Team, case evaluations are always absolutely free of cost and come with no obligation. Our legal team will review key facts and elements of your case, and provide you with an overview of possible sentencing and legal ramifications. Do not wait to seek legal help if you are facing charges for false imprisonment. Each day that passes is another day that the prosecutor's office is working hard to prove your guilt and secure a conviction. You deserve the same chance in a court of law to prove your innocence and protect your freedom.
The Three Elements of False Imprisonment Charges
There are three key elements of false imprisonment charges in the state of Florida.
- The element of willful detention. This states that the imprisonment, detention, or restraint of another person must be intentional and willful. You must know you are detaining the person and are doing so purposely. For example, accidentally locking the door behind you and confining a person to a room when you did not mean to is not a crime. Intentionally locking them in a room is a crime.
- The element of intention. This states that you must know your actions are confining or detaining another person against their will. You must be trying to keep them in a place.
- The element of knowledge of the plaintiff. This states that the victim does not need to know they are being falsely imprisoned. This element is particularly important when discussing cases that involve minors. For example, if a child is being kept from their parents without consent, yet they are not cognizant of the crime taking place, it is still illegal.
False Arrest vs False Imprisonment
False arrest and false imprisonment are different criminal charges, though they do have some of the same elements. Understanding the differences and similarities between the two offenses is crucial, and an experienced false imprisonment attorney in Florida, such as Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal, can cover the details of each charge to provide a deeper understanding.
The elements of false imprisonment state that the crime includes:
- Participation in the unlawful restraint, confinement, or detention of another person
- The noted restraint is against that person's will
- The noted restraint is without legal justification
False arrest charges include an additional element, often the premise that the accused does have a legal justification to perform the detention even when they do not. False arrest is when you detain a person and hold them with no probable cause, without the correct legal warrant, or without a court order. Both private citizens and members of law enforcement can commit false arrest.
In cases of false arrest, the accused must either imply or directly state that they do have legal backing and justification to perform a detention or restraint. The elements of false imprisonment, on the other hand, refer to an illegal restraint of any kind, whether the accused implies they are legally justified or otherwise.
The Crime of False Imprisonment in the State of Florida
Florida Statute 787.02 outlines elements of false imprisonment according to state law. According to the state legislature, "The term 'false imprisonment' means forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will. Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this section if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian."
In Florida, the lowest classification of false imprisonment charges is a felony of the third degree. This means that the maximum sentencing for this crime includes:
- Up to five years in prison and/or up to five years of probation
- Up to $5,000 in mandated court fines
- Restitution paid to the victim(s)
There is no minimum sentencing for false imprisonment in Florida. Additionally, it is important to know that extenuating circumstances may lead to upgraded charges, such as second-degree or first-degree felony offenses. Once the court upgrades your charges you will face steeper consequences and longer sentencing.
The effects of being a convicted felon in the state of Florida are many. There are jobs you will not be able to hold, places you will not be able to live, and you will likely have to relinquish ownership or control of your firearms. You will not be able to own or possess a gun in the future and you will likely lose your voting rights for a period of time. Additionally, if you are convicted of false imprisonment the court will likely grant the victim(s) a restraining order against you, which becomes part of the public record.
Speak To An Attorney About Your False Imprisonment Charges
Whether this is your first criminal offense, or you are a repeat offender, an experienced defense attorney can help fight a false imprisonment case. There are several valid defenses for false imprisonment, and a criminal defense lawyer will know how to best build your case, effectively proving your innocence. It may be possible to have your charges either reduced to a misdemeanor offense, sparing you some of the more serious consequences of a felony conviction, or even dropped entirely. However, you must act quickly to secure legal help and begin building your defense.
We work with a team of legal professionals, including private investigators and more, and will begin putting together a case on your behalf immediately. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so no call for help will ever go unanswered. Start your free case evaluation with the Weinstein Legal Team now.