Although it is common knowledge that kidnapping is illegal, many people are often surprised to learn that something as simple as a husband blocking a door to prevent his wife from leaving a room can also lead to severe penalties. When you confine or restrain someone against their will in California, it is known as false imprisonment. False imprisonment differs from kidnapping because the victim is not transported during the crime. Rather, they are held in a single place without their consent.
It is not always clear what evidence is needed to support a conviction for false imprisonment. Therefore, if you or a family member has been arrested for false imprisonment in San Luis Obispo, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your options.
What to Do if You Are Facing False Imprisonment Charges in San Luis Obispo, California
California Penal Code Section 236 defines false imprisonment as “the unlawful violation of the liberty of another”. In other words, detaining, restraining, or confining another person against their will is prohibited in the state of California.
By partnering with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with false imprisonment laws in San Luis Obispo, your defense strategy will benefit from their expertise. A skillful criminal defense lawyer will craft a unique defense strategy for your case by:
- Conducting witness interviews
- Formulating a plea deal
- Investigating the prosecutor's case against you
- Assessing your potential penalties
- Collecting crucial evidence
Proving consent is the most common defense in false imprisonment cases and involves proving the alleged victim provided consent to constrain their movement. The second most common defense to PC 236 is self-defense and requires showing that the suspect was justified in restricting the alleged victim's movement as they presented a credible danger. Other defenses can include shopkeeper's privilege, law enforcement officer privilege, or legal guardian rights.
If you are even suspected of false imprisonment in San Luis Obispo, contact a trusted criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. By getting in touch with an attorney right away, you can open the lines of communication with the prosecution before a formal filing determination is made.
What Are the Penalties for False Imprisonment in San Luis Obispo?
In California, false imprisonment is a wobbler offense, which means that depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, it can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The most significant differentiation between a misdemeanor and felony false imprisonment is that felonious false imprisonment usually involves violence or injury.
Penalties for misdemeanor false imprisonment can include:
- Up to one year in the county jail
- A fine of $1,000
- Restitution to the victim(s)
- Community service
Penalties for felony false imprisonment can include:
- Up to three years in the state prison
- Fine of up to $10,000
- Life-long status as a convicted felon
Although the penalties associated with false imprisonment are not usually as severe as those for kidnapping, a conviction for false imprisonment in San Luis Obispo can dramatically change your life. Any background checks for employment or housing in the future will bring up your conviction and could hinder your ability to find work or a place to live.
Fight a San Luis Obispo False Imprisonment Charge with a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney
At Aron Law Firm, we understand that facing any legal issue can be stressful and emotional, but even more so when you are facing a serious charge such as false imprisonment. When you partner with our firm, we will be there with you every step of the way. We have extensive experience defending false imprisonment allegations as well as various other criminal charges.
It is not worth the risk to try to fight a false imprisonment charge without legal representation. A practiced criminal defense lawyer is an invaluable asset in any cases involving false imprisonment. To confidentially discuss your San Luis Obispo false imprisonment case, call (805) 892-6488 or submit a completed contact form today.