Are you facing criminal charges for false imprisonment in Los Angeles? Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to avoid many of the harsh penalties you may face. At The Rodriguez Law Group, our attorneys understand that your future is on the line and will fight to protect it.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your alleged crime, determine the best strategy for your defense, and help you understand your legal rights.
- 1 False Imprisonment – Penal Code 236 PC
- 2 False Imprisonment Is a Wobbler in California
- 3 Crimes Related to False Imprisonment
- 4 Defending False Imprisonment Charges in Los Angeles
- 5 Los Angeles False Imprisonment Attorneys
False Imprisonment – Penal Code 236 PC
False imprisonment, as defined in Penal Code 236 PC, is an “unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.” In simpler terms, false imprisonment is the act of preventing another person from moving around freely.
The crime of false imprisonment has two very specific elements. The state must prove that you are guilty of each of these elements in order to get a conviction.
- You intentionally and unlawfully restrained, detained, or confined another person.
- Your actions prevented that person from moving freely.
Intentionally and Unlawfully Restrained Another
False imprisonment involves a violation of another person’s personal liberty. This violation occurs when you intentionally prevent someone from moving freely and willfully. You will be considered to have acted intentionally if you did something on purpose. Detaining someone accidentally or through an act of negligence will not be considered “intentional.”
Contrary to popular belief, you do not actually have to physically restrain or hold another person to be guilty of false imprisonment. You could be charged with false imprisonment if you detained someone by locking them inside of a room. You could also face charges if you prevented someone from moving freely by threatening them with a dangerous weapon. All that matters is that you interfere with their ability and freedom to move.
Prevented Another From Moving Freely
In order to be convicted of false imprisonment, you must have prevented another person from moving freely. This can occur in one of two ways:
- You prevent a person from exercising free will and leaving a particular location; or
- You purposefully move someone to a location without their consent.
Consent means that a person agrees to something while fully understanding the consequences of those actions. Consent does not exist if it is obtained using force, coercion, fraud, or duress. Children often lack the ability to provide meaningful and lawful consent. This is because they they may not fully understand a situation.
False Imprisonment Is a Wobbler in California
False imprisonment is a wobbler in California, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The specific charge in your case will depend on a variety of mitigating and aggravating factors, including:
- Whether you’ve been charged or convicted of false imprisonment in the past;
- Your history of criminal conduct;
- Whether your alleged victim suffered an injury or harm; and/or
- Whether force or violence was used to aid the crime.
Misdemeanor False Imprisonment
False imprisonment can be charged as a misdemeanor if you have no prior convictions and did not use force or violence. Penalties for misdemeanor false imprisonment can include:
- A maximum of 12 months in a Los Angeles County jail;
- Probation; and/or
Felony False Imprisonment
False imprisonment can be charged as a felony under Penal Code 237 PC if:
- The crime was aided “by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit.” Penalties for felony false imprisonment; or
- The victim was an elderly or disabled person.
Felony false imprisonment is punishable by 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in a California state prison. Other penalties can include fines, probation, community service, and even court-ordered counseling.
Crimes Related to False Imprisonment
False imprisonment is very similar to many other crimes in California. In many cases, you may face charges for false imprisonment as a “lesser included” offense of these crimes. A lesser included offense is typically similar, but not quite as serious, as the primary criminal offense.
Carjacking: Carjacking, as defined in Penal Code 215 PC, is the crime of forcibly taking another person’s vehicle from their immediate presence. False imprisonment charges may accompany carjacking charges if you commit a carjacking while someone else is inside the vehicle.
Defending False Imprisonment Charges in Los Angeles
It’s important to remember that the state has to prove that you are guilty of false imprisonment beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because you have been charged does not automatically mean that you will be convicted. You can increase the chances of a successful outcome by hiring an experienced criminal attorney to handle your defense. At The Rodriguez Law Group, we will thoroughly investigate your alleged crime. This investigation will help us to determine which of the following defenses may be most helpful in your specific case.
- You did not act intentionally or purposefully.
- You detained another person to protect them from certain harm.
- You were making a lawful citizen’s arrest.
- Your alleged victim consented to the detention.
- Your alleged victim paid you to detain them.
- You lawfully detained your own child as a form of discipline (e.g., grounding).
- Evidence has been obtained in violation of your Constitutional rights.
These defenses are designed to dispute, explain, or justify your alleged behavior. The stronger our defense arguments, the harder it will be for the state to build a strong case against you.
Los Angeles False Imprisonment Attorneys
False imprisonment is a serious crime in Los Angeles. Have you have been arrested for false imprisonment and are facing criminal charges? If so, you need to speak with an experienced attorney immediately. As a former prosecutor, Ambrosio Rodriguez has a unique perspective on the criminal justice system in Los Angeles. He will use his experience and insight to help you devise a winning defense strategy. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more.