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False Imprisonment

Everyone knows it’s illegal to kidnap or detain someone against their will. However, most people aren’t aware of a similar offense known as false imprisonment. When a person is confined or restrained against their will, it’s referred to as false imprisonment.

It’s important that you don’t take false imprisonment charges lightly. You could face felony charges, which includes potential prison time. If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney for False Imprisonment in St. Petersburg, Florida

Restraining another person without their consent is against the law. False imprisonment charges come with heavy penalties since it can quickly escalate to kidnapping. If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment, it’s important that you gain trusted legal representation. 

Find that representation today with Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Our attorneys are skilled at formulating strong defense strategies. We will collect evidence, file motions and do whatever possible to get you the best results for your case. Call now at (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation.

Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents clients accused of violent crimes at the Pinellas County Justice Center and surrounding cities including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Largo.

Overview of False Imprisonment in Florida


Penalties for False Imprisonment in Florida

Imprisoning another person through force or threats is a crime. Florida Statue § 787.02 states it’s illegal to confine, imprison or restrain another person against their will without lawful authority. So, unless you’re a cop, you cannot legally restrain another person.

False imprisonment is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to five years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000.

Penalties for Aggravated False Imprisonment in Florida

If certain children were present in the crime, your penalties may be elevated. The penalty will be elevated to a first-degree felony if any of the following offenses were present during the false imprisonment of a child.  

  • Aggravated child abuse;
  • Sexual battery against a child;
  • Lewd or lascivious battery;
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct;
  • Lewd or lascivious exhibition;
  • Lewd or lascivious molestation;
  • Prostitution of a child;
  • Exploitation of a child; or
  • Human trafficking.

A first-degree felony is punishable by:

  • Up to 30 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000.

Civil Claims for False Imprisonment

Criminal penalties shouldn’t be the only thing you’re worried about. Victims of false imprisonment can also file a claim to recover damages. Damages are the losses the victim allegedly suffered because of an injury. The alleged victim must file a suit claiming they were injured because of the false imprisonment. If they’re successful, you may be forced to pay a monetary settlement.

A false imprisonment conviction could be damaging evidence in a civil court and may persuade the jury to grant a settlement to the victim. You could be forced to pay for the victim’ losses such as: 

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of earning capacity;
  • Rehabilitation costs;
  • Loss of enjoyment for life; and
  • Pain and suffering.

Penalties for Kidnapping in Florida

It’s common for a false imprisonment offense to escalate to a kidnapping. A person is kidnapped if they’re abducted, confined, or imprisoned against their will through force or threat. The kidnapper must have intended to:   

  • Hold the victim for ransom or reward;
  • Use the victim as a hostage or shield;
  • Facilitate or continue to commit a felony;
  • Harm or terrorize the victim or another person; or
  • Interfere with a governmental or political function.

Kidnapping is a first-degree felony punishable by the following:  

  • Up to 30 years in prison; and
  • A possible $10,000 fine. 

A kidnapping charge can be enhanced by certain factors. If you kidnap a child younger than 13 years old and commit one of the following, you’ll face a life felony.

  • Aggravated child abuse;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Lewd or lascivious battery;
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct;
  • Lewd or lascivious exhibition;
  • Lewd or lascivious molestation;
  • Sexual battery against a child;
  • Exploitation of a child; or
  • Prostitution of a child. 

A life felony is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 years in prison and a statutory maximum of life in prison.


Additional Resources

Florida False Imprisonment Laws – Visit the official website for Florida Legislature to find more information about false imprisonment. Access the statutes to learn more about the charge specifics, aggravating factors and other related offenses.

Kidnapping and False Imprisonment – Visit the official website for the United States Department of Justice to find more information about kidnapping and false imprisonment under federal jurisdiction. See how the U.S. Code handles international parental kidnapping, foreign official kidnapping and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.


Attorney for False Imprisonment in Pinellas County, Florida

Have you been charged with false imprisonment in Florida? Are you unsure how to fight these charges? Don’t enter a plea or speak to law enforcement. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A..

The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. excel at representing those accused of false imprisonment. We can evaluate your evidence to create a strong defense strategy. In addition, our attorneys will never leave you in the dark. We are always available to answer questions surrounding your charges.

Call us now at (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation. Morris Law Firm, P.A. we accept clients throughout the greater St. Petersburg area including Largo, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Clearwater and Tampa.


This article was last updated on December 31, 2018.

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