False Imprisonment Law in California - Penal Code 236 PC
Having practiced criminal defense for twenty-five years, I have seen my share of false imprisonment cases filed in San Fernando Valley. This will often come up in a domestic violence setting; other times, it will come up during some violent felony.
Either way, prosecutors and judges take these cases very seriously because a person who commits a crime takes away a person's movement and one of their essential liberties. There is a loss of freedom, and many times someone willing to restrict a person in this manner is classified as dangerous and someone that may commit a more serious offense in the future.
It is my experience that if we can convince the prosecutors that the subject person's actions were an aberration, this is not likely to happen again and show them why the person did it and that they are not going to do it again. We have taken the first step towards equitably resolving the matter. We typically will get character letters that can speak to our client's good name and standing in the community and do everything we can to show they are an upstanding citizen who made a mistake.
Another strategy we employ is to show the prosecutor and judge the surrounding circumstances that led up the subject's behavior. Many of the cases that I have handled over the years have been mitigated once the other side sees that you are not a wrong person, you are not likely to engage in this type of behavior again, and it is not as bad as the police have reported.
Laws Related to False Imprisonment
False Imprisonment is defined under California Penal Code Section 236. It makes it a crime to wrongfully restrain, confine, or detain a person without their consent and a reasonable means of escape. Locking them in a room that they could not get out of would be enough to meet the elements of false imprisonment in Los Angeles County.
The crime is a wobbler, meaning that it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the case's specific circumstances. The more serious the actions and the more danger involved, the more likely the case will be filed as a felony. Domestic violence scenarios are ripe for false imprisonment charges, and we can often get the prosecutors to dismiss this charge in a favorable plea negotiation.
False imprisonment is usually charged as a misdemeanor if the prosecution believes they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally restrained, confined, or detained another person and the other person did not consent. False imprisonment will usually be charged as a felony if the prosecution additionally believes they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that violence, fraud, or deceit was involved in the restraining, confining, and detaining.
It is essential to understand that kidnapping and false imprisonment are not the same crime. However, if a person goes too far during a violent episode, the prosecutor can up the charges to kidnapping and possibly face life in prison.
Kidnapping is a felony offense and takes away or movement another person against their will by force or threat. Punishment for kidnapping may result in a significant prison sentence, depending on the circumstances that the alleged victim faces and the level of dangerousness the prosecutors believe exists.
False imprisonment is to confine or restrain a victim against their will, and a conviction may result in up to 3 years in prison if charged as a felony and up to one year if charged as a misdemeanor. As you can see, with stakes at a high level, it is best higher a seasoned criminal defense attorney to defend your interests at every stage of the criminal proceedings.
Retain a Criminal Lawyer
Regardless of the crime, you are facing, our criminal defense attorneys can help you. With our combined 75 years of experience and our extensive skill, knowledge, and understanding of the illegal practice field, we are confident we can provide you with the best representation in these stressful times.
We can use several defenses, such as coercion, consent, false allegations, and a parent's right to discipline. Once we meet with you and obtain all of the details related to your case, we can then begin resolving your matter in the best possible way. Contact the Hedding Law Firm for help. Call us, and we will sit down with you and go over all your charges and available options.