What Is Considered False Imprisonment in California?

Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP have decades of experience fighting for the rights of clients throughout the greater Los Angeles area. One type of case clients often seek our counsel for is false imprisonment.

From clients who got into heated arguments with their significant others and tried to prevent them from leaving so they could sort their issue out to other situations where people feel like they are imprisoned and decide to call police, we know that what seems like a normal discussion can sometimes be misinterpreted as an attempt to imprison another person.

Under California Penal Code 236, false imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. Below, we explain what constitutes false imprisonment in California so you gain a better understanding of your rights.

False Imprisonment Explained

To charge a person with false imprisonment, they must have confined another individual against their will without the legal authority to do so. Common examples of false imprisonment include:

  1. A law enforcement officer makes an arrest without having a warrant or probable cause
  2. One spouse locks the other in a room, such as a bathroom or a bedroom
  3. Locking a person in the basement of a property

Depending on the details and severity of the crime, false imprisonment can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in the state of California. If you are charged with misdemeanor false imprisonment, you will face up to 364 days in county jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. If you are charged with felony false imprisonment because your actions were violent, then you will face between 16 months and three years in prison.

Can I Be Charged for Kidnapping?

While the two crimes may seem similar, there is a difference between false imprisonment and kidnapping. To be charged with kidnapping, the law requires that the person be moved a substantial distance through force or fear, and without the person’s consent. While the two crimes are different, kidnapping can be included as an additional charge to false imprisonment, depending on where and how the person is imprisoned.

Are you facing false imprisonment or kidnapping charges? Then consult with a criminal defense lawyer at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP today to find out what we can do to fight your rights. Give us a call at (800) 462-7160 to schedule a free consultation.