False Imprisonment

When people think of false imprisonment, they usually picture the locked in a room or cell scenario. Alternatively, false imprisonment invokes thoughts of wrongful arrest or imprisonment – which are, in fact, crimes in some places.

In fact, in Florida, false imprisonment is most often alleged in domestic violence cases. Under Florida law, the basis of false imprisonment involves depriving someone of his or her freedom of movement. In this context, false imprisonment may manifest by grabbing someone, preventing someone from leaving, or even preventing an elder person from leaving a nursing home.

False imprisonment is, however, distinct from kidnapping. Talking to an attorney could help you parse out the differences between these offenses.

Attorney for False Imprisonment in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment in Broward County, Florida, then speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group.

Our attorneys have years of experience fighting for the rights of those accused of violent crimes in Florida courts. We take cases throughout the Miami-metropolitan area in counties like Hendry County, Palm Beach County, Collier County, and Miami-Dade County, FL.

Our office is centrally located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse. If you have been arrested in Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, or LaBelle, Florida, then contact our firm immediately.

Call (954) 500-5555 to speak with an attorney about how to fight criminal false imprisonment charges.


Overview of Federal Kidnapping Offenses in Broward County


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The Elements Under Florida Statute § 787.02 for False Imprisonment

According to Statute §787.02 under Florida law, the State must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt in order to convict a person of false imprisonment:

  1. that the defendant either
    1. restrained
    2. imprisoned
    3. confined
    4. abducted or
  2. the victim against his or her will; and
  3. the defendant had no lawful authority to do so.

The third element of the Statue is important because the phrase "without lawful authority" may rule out police officers and in most instances, parents when the child is underage. With that said, confining a child who is under age thirteen (13), without the child's parent or legal guardian's consent is false imprisonment also considered false imprisonment.


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Aggravated False Imprisonment in Florida

False imprisonment, in Florida, is considered aggravated when the prosecutor shows, beyond a reasonable doubt that, at the time of the false imprisonment, the victim was a child under the age of thirteen (13) and the defendant committed any of the following:

  • an act of sexual battery against the child;
  • a lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, conduct, or exhibition;
  • an act of procuring a child for prostitution;
  • an act of forcing, compelling, or coercing another to become a prostitute upon the child;
  • an exploitation of a child upon the victim; or
  • an act of aggravated child abuse;
  • an act of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity, in which the victim is a child under eighteen (18), a mentally defective person, or a mentally incapacitated person.

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Punishment for False Imprisonment in Florida

In Florida, false imprisonment is charged as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 fines.

Aggravated false imprisonment, however, is charged as a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison.


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Civil False Imprisonment Claims

Florida law allows the victim of a false imprisonment claim to file suit against the defendant to recover money damages.

A civil claim for false imprisonment requires an intentional restraint that was unwarranted, unreasonable, and without legal authority. Such restraint must have caused the victim harm.

In Florida, the term "Intentional restraint" is defined as purposeful restraint performed with knowledge, or substantial certainty, that it would cause harm.

Restraint is defined as being held against without consent. Under the civil statute of false imprisonment, probable cause and arrest (made by lawfully authorized personnel) are complete defenses.


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Additional Resources

False Imprisonment § 787.02 Fla. Stat. – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature to find the full statutory language of the Florida statute for false imprisonment, along with elements and penalties for conviction.

"Double Offenses" Problems in Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Cases – Visit the Florida Bar Journal website for more information on the differences between kidnapping and false imprisonment. This article discusses false imprisonment as a lesser-included offense of kidnapping and how the Florida legislature has dealt with the differences.


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Find a Lawyer for False Imprisonment in Broward County, FL

Our offices are centrally located at 401 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, just minutes from the Broward County Central Courthouse.

False Imprisonment is often confused with kidnapping under Florida law. If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment in Miami, West Palm Beach, East Naples, or LaBelle, Florida, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group.

Our attorneys have years of experienced fighting for the rights of people accused of crimes. We take cases throughout the Miami-metropolitan area in Palm Beach County, Hendry County, Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and Broward County, Florida.

Call (954) 500-5555 for more information about our consultations and the kind of legal services that we provide.


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