false imprisonment | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the criminal law context, false imprisonment is the intentional and unauthorized confinement of another person without their consent.

It’s considered a form of assault, which means that no physical contact is necessary for an action to be considered false imprisonment. The key element of this crime is that the confinement must be without the other person’s consent, and it must be intentional. It can occur in various ways, including through physical restraint, threats, or intimidation. False imprisonment can also occur when a person is falsely arrested by someone who claims to have the legal authority to make an arrest, such as a private citizen who falsely claims to be a police officer. The punishment for false imprisonment varies depending on the jurisdiction, but it’s generally considered a serious criminal offense. Penalties can include fines and imprisonment. It is also a crime of moral turpitude.

It’s important to note that false imprisonment is different from unlawful detention, which is the detention of a person by someone who has the legal authority to make the detention but exceeds the scope of that authority, for example, a police officer who exceeds the time allowed for detention.

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Last Modified: 01/10/2023


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