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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Domestic Violence / Domestic Violence And False Imprisonment

Domestic Violence And False Imprisonment


The average person who hears the term “false imprisonment” may think of a fairly dire picture – a person locked in a dark room, tied up and blindfolded. In reality, the definition of false imprisonment in Florida is to “forcibly or by threat” imprison a person without lawful authority and without their consent. This comes up often in domestic violence cases because one can commit false imprisonment almost without meaning to during a domestic dispute, even if no physical altercation actually occurs. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, be aware that this may be added to your charges.

Physical Injury Is Common

A crime of domestic violence in Florida is defined as any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death to the victim, committed by a “family or household member,” defined as a spouse, ex-spouse, co-parent, people related by blood or marriage, and people who are (or were) living together ‘as a family.’ Examples listed in the statute explicitly include false imprisonment, among other offenses – anything that is likely to produce the required “physical injury or death.”

There are only two requirements to a charge of false imprisonment: that a victim was restrained or confined, and that it occurred without either authority or consent. The offense of false imprisonment does not require any physical injury to happen – but it is considered a crime of domestic violence in many situations because it is all too easy for the victim to be injured during the commission of that crime. All it takes is grabbing one’s arm too hard, or pushing someone enough for them to lose their balance, and physical injury can occur.

Serious Consequences

It is important to understand that false imprisonment is not the same as kidnapping, because kidnapping usually involves an intent to commit another major offense (such as murder or sexual assault); also, it requires that a person be moved against their will to another place. False imprisonment only requires them to be restrained or contained. That said, the offense still carries up to 5 years in jail upon conviction, plus any fines or required court costs.

In addition to any criminal penalties, it is not uncommon for those convicted of false imprisonment as a domestic violence offense may find themselves on the receiving end of a permanent domestic violence injunction. Having a domestic violence injunction against you will bar you from living in your shared or marital home, and can also negatively affect issues like child custody in the future.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

False imprisonment is a serious offense, and if it occurs in a domestic violence context, the sentence for a conviction will generally be even more harsh. A West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help protect your rights, and ensure that you are able to tell your side of the story in court. Call our office today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.



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