What does “false imprisonment” mean and what does it involve? False imprisonment is a crime under Section 787.02 of the Florida Statutes. Under Sec. 787.02(a), false imprisonment “means to forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against his or her will.” It is also “false imprisonment” to confine a child under the age of 13 against their will, if the confinement is without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
How does someone commit the crime of false imprisonment? There are many possibilities. For example, someone can lock another person in a room or in a closet. They can tie the person up to a chair against their will. A person can use physical force to restrain another. They can keep someone in a car and not let them out when they ask to be released. Someone can abduct another person off the street and keep them in their car or take them somewhere against their will and not let them leave.
False Imprisonment vs. Kidnapping
While false imprisonment sounds a lot like “kidnapping,” it’s actually a separate offense. Kidnapping is covered under Section 787.01 of the Florida Statutes. When someone is kidnapped, the offender has the intent of holding the victim for ransom or reward or to hold them as a hostage or shield. Or, the offender intends to commit a felony, inflict bodily harm on the victim, terrorize the victim, or interfere with a governmental or political function.
What are the penalties for false imprisonment?
- False imprisonment is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000, and by a prison term not to exceed 5 years.
- False imprisonment involving a child under the age of 13 is a felony of the first degree if while committing the offense, the offender committed sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, or lewd or lascivious battery. A felony of the first degree is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000, and by up to 30 years in prison or by life in prison.