False imprisonment involves intentionally restricting another person’s freedom of movement. When it is viewed as a civil cause of action aka intentional tort, false imprisonment is commonly defined as the ‘unlawful restraint of another…against their will…without legal justification’.
The first element of false imprisonment, unlawful restraint of another, looks at whether force was used to restrain the accuser – actual force or implied force through the use of threats can be considered.
Whether a person was held against their will falls under the ‘reasonable person standard’. This means that a jury will weigh whether a reasonable person in the same situation would believe that they were detained against there will. If an accuser has an obvious recourse, such as breaking away with little resistance from someone’s grasp or using an alternate exit, this is most likely not false imprisonment from a reasonable person’s standpoint.
Determining if there was a legal justification for detaining someone might include a lawful arrest by law enforcement, voluntary consent or shopkeeper’s privilege.
A tort is a civil offense that could result in a judgment of liability requiring the payment of monetary damages. However, false imprisonment may also be viewed as a crime on top of an intentional tort. Criminal charges could result and, if found guilty, fines and imprisonment could follow.
If you have been accused of false imprisonment, you will likely be looking at a host of related allegations such as assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. It is vital to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you defend against these charges. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for help.