FREE Case Review (866) 588-0600

Is False Imprisonment a Felony?
Definition and 5 Key Elements Explained

False imprisonment, which is defined as the unlawful restraint or restriction of another person’s freedom of movement against their will, can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances and the laws of the jurisdiction where the offense occurs.
Awards & recognition
C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
Free Confidential Lawsuit Review
If you or a loved one was injured, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help. Please click the button below for a Free Case Evaluation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

Start My Free Case Review

What is False Imprisonment?

According to Contra Costa, false imprisonment is a serious crime that involves the unlawful and intentional restraint or confinement of a person against her or his will [1]. False imprisonment restricts an individual’s freedom of movement without legal justification or consent.

Also Read: Is Kidnapping a Felony?

Elements of False Imprisonment

False imprisonment can take many different forms; however, key elements of the crime usually include:

  • Intentional Restraint: False imprisonment must be intentional, meaning that the person committing the crime knowingly and purposefully restrains the other person.
  • Unlawful Restraint: The restraint must be unlawful, meaning that there is no legal reason for the action. Legal justifications could include law enforcement taking a suspect into custody within the scope of their duties or other situations where restraint is legally justified.
  • Against the Victim’s Will: The victim must be confined or restrained without their consent and against their will. Coercion, threats, force, or deception may be used to confine the individual.
  • Deprivation of Freedom of Movement: False imprisonment involves confining a person’s freedom of movement. This can occur in physical spaces or by controlling their ability to leave a particular area.
  • Lack of Legal Authority: The individual committing false imprisonment must lack legal authority for their behavior. If someone has the legal authority to restrain another person, it would not be considered false imprisonment.

Examples of Misdemeanor, Felony False Imprisonment

In many jurisdictions, extraneous factors including the use of force, duration of the confinement, and the presence of aggravating circumstances can influence whether the crime of false imprisonment is considered to be a felony or a misdemeanor. For example:

Misdemeanor False Imprisonment:

  • Usually involves shorter durations of confinement.
  • May not involve the use of physical violence or threats.
  • Typically considered less severe cases.

Felony False Imprisonment:

  • Involves more severe cases, such as longer-term confinement.
  • May involve the use of weapons, violence, or other extenuating factors.
  • Intent on the part of the offender to commit another crime during the false imprisonment may elevate it to a felony.

What To Do If You’ve Been Charged With False Imprisonment

If you are facing charges related to false imprisonment, you should seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who can provide guidance based on the specific laws of the jurisdiction and the details of the case.

It’s important to understand that legal definitions and classifications vary by state and local jurisdiction, and the specific elements required for a false imprisonment charge may differ. Laws regarding false imprisonment are designed to protect individuals from being unlawfully restrained, and the severity of the offense is reflected in the potential penalties.

Related Articles:

If you’re accused of a crime, don’t hesitate to contact us for your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.

Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers

The Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new legal challenges in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.



Free Confidential Case Evaluation

Verified 100% Secure SiteTo contact us for a free review of your potential case, please fill out the form below or call us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing: (866) 588-0600.