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False Imprisonment vs Kidnapping

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on August 3, 2021

The legal differences between false imprisonment and kidnapping are revealed in the California Penal Codes that describe these crimes.

For a conviction in a charge of false imprisonment, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person did the following:

  • Intentionally detained, restrained, or confined another person.
  • The person was then forced to remain in some location for a period, whether short or longer.
  • The restrained person did not consent to this act.
  • The victim suffered some type of harm due to the act.
  • The conduct of the person responsible was a factor in the harm suffered by the victim.

For a conviction in a kidnapping charge, the prosecutor must prove:

  • The accused took a person forcibly, or by instilling fear, steals, takes, holds, or detains, or arrests another person, transporting them to another country, state, or county or another area within Los Angeles County.
  • Cases in which it is alleged that the accused hired, persuaded, enticed, decoys, or seduces by false promises or misrepresentations any child under age 14 to go out of this country, state, or county, or another area of Los Angeles County.

The difference between the two charges is that in cases of kidnapping, the person is moved to another location, and in false imprisonment they are held in one location without transferring them to another country, state, county or area in LA County.

Charges of False Imprisonment: The Penalties

The penalties imposed in a conviction will reflect whether the charges are misdemeanor or felony.

In a misdemeanor case, the penalties include fines up to $1,000 and jail time up to one year.

A felony charge of false imprisonment carries far more severe penalties, which can be prison time up to three years.

Charges of Kidnapping: The Penalties

Kidnapping is a felony offense, and the penalties can include up to 8 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000, or both. This is a “three strikes” offense and can lead to longer penalties for those who have a prior criminal record.

Defense Strategies

False Imprisonment Defenses

If you are charged with false imprisonment, it is imperative that you are represented by a criminal attorney to protect your rights, interests, and seek a favorable outcome. The strategies for the defense may include:

  • Insufficient evidence.
  • The individual who claims false imprisonment gave implied or expressed consent.
  • The act was performed in self-defense, and the person restrained due to threats or actions that presented a credible danger.
  • False accusations, and the incident did not occur.

Kidnapping Defenses

  • Insufficient evidence.
  • False accusations, and the kidnapping did not occur.
  • The person consented to the act.
  • The alleged victim was not moved a substantial distance that would warrant a kidnapping charge.
  • The accused did not perform the act.
  • Your rights as a parent allowed you to move a child to a different location.

When Your Freedom is at Stake…

If you are accused of either kidnapping or false imprisonment, you are facing an incredibly challenging and dangerous legal problem. Even if you are completely innocent, the prosecutor has filed charges against you that must be challenged with the help of a talented, persuasive, and professional criminal attorney. At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, your case will be in the hands of a legal team that has garnered a reputation for excellence in criminal defense, and who will vigorously pursue every advantage.

Our approach is different than many law firms, as we offer “strength in numbers.” When we represent a defendant, the entire legal team is involved, not just one lawyer. When your freedom is at risk, the quality and experience of your defense team is of utmost importance.

Don’t take chances – call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP at (213) 688-0460 immediately if you are charged with false imprisonment or kidnapping.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense