In the state of California, when someone restrains or detains another person against their will and in an unlawful manner, this is known as false imprisonment. False imprisonment, or false arrest, as it is also known, impedes a person’s ability to move and infringes on their freedom. As such, it is a crime in California the same way that it is a crime across most of the United States. If you were arrested for false imprisonment, you may be facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge. It really comes down to the details of your case, and the prosecutor has the authority to determine which charge will be levied against you.
After an arrest in California, you can trust the skilled legal guidance of the San Diego criminal defense attorney David M. Boertje. It is best not to take on criminal charges alone. David M. Boertje knows the criminal justice system and can fight on your behalf to secure the most favorable outcome for your case.
What Determines if False Imprisonment Will be a Misdemeanor or Felony?
The prosecutor tasked with assessing your case will look at many factors when determining the right level of charges. If force and aggression were used to detain someone or if fraud was a factor, then a felony may be the prosecutor’s decision. This is especially true for a person who already has a long criminal history.
If a prosecutor chooses a felony charge, then the punishment will be harsher than it would be with a misdemeanor. With a misdemeanor, a year in county jail would be the maximum penalty, but with a felony, that penalty could increase to up to five years spent behind bars in state prison.
Not only will false imprisonment likely lead to some amount of jail time if a conviction takes place, but the victim of such an experience may also be able to file a civil suit against the individual who subdued them. Civil cases are different from criminal cases. In a criminal case, the bar to serve a guilty verdict is high, and jurors must believe a defendant committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Civil cases, by contrast, only require jurors to believe that a defendant likely was negligent. While criminal cases where a guilty verdict is decided will result in some type of punishment, a civil case can result in financial compensation to the plaintiff.
Being arrested in California for false imprisonment can have far-reaching negative implications including establishing or adding to criminal history, jail time, and potentially payment of a settlement to a victim for their damages. Continue reading