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False Imprisonment

The crime of false imprisonment is a felony under both state and federal law. False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a particular area without justification or consent, and it applies to private as well as governmental detention.

Under federal law, false imprisonment is when one unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person, except in the case of a minor by the parent thereof, when the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a state boundary, or the offender travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses the mail or any means, facility, or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense; any such act against the person is done within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; any such act against the person is done within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; the person is a foreign official, an internationally protected person or an official guest; the person is among those officers and employees and any such act against the person is done while the person is engaged in, or on account of, the performance of official duties.

To be convicted under federal law of false imprisonment, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that: 1. transportation in interstate commerce; 2. of an unconsenting person who is; 3) held for ransom, reward or otherwise, and 4) the acts were done knowingly and willingly.

Conviction of this offense in federal court is a felony and is punishable by a term of imprisonment for any amount of years up to, and including life. If death of the victim occurs, it is punishable by death or life imprisonment. If the victim of this offense has not attained the age of 18 years; and the offender has attained such age and is not a parent; a grandparent; a brother; a sister; an aunt; an uncle; or an individual having legal custody of the victim, it is punishable by a term of imprisonment of no less than 20 years.

Under Florida State law, false imprisonment is when one forcibly, by threat, or secretly confines, abducts, imprisons, or restrains another person without lawful authority and against his or her will. Confinement of a child under the age of 13 against his or her will is presumptively false imprisonment without the consent of his or her parent or legal guardian.

To be convicted under Florida law of false imprisonment, the state must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that: 1. the defendant forcibly, secretly, by threat, confined, abducted, imprisoned, or restrained the victim against his or her will; and 2. the defendant had no lawful authority to do so.

Conviction of this offense is a felony of third degree and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed five years. A person who commits the offense of false imprisonment upon a child under the age of 13 and who, in the course of committing the offense commits aggravated child abuse; sexual battery against the child; lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, or lewd or lascivious exhibition; prostitution, upon the child; exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited; or relating to human trafficking has committed a felony of the first degree. Conviction of this offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 years.

Attorney Petruzzi has years of experience defending those charged with false imprisonment. It is important for one to hire an experienced attorney when faced with this type of charge. Attorney Petruzzi’s knowledge and expertise in this field of law are vital assets to anyone charged with this crime. Call today for a free consultation.

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