Posted on October 23, 2015

Los Angeles False Imprisonment Lawyer │ California Penal Code § 236

False imprisonment is generally categorized as a wobbler offense in California. A wobbler offense means the prosecutor holds discretion when electing to charge someone with a felony or misdemeanor. When making this determination, the prosecutor will consider your prior criminal history, the severity of the circumstances, and whether the alleged victim was injured or suffered great bodily harm as a result. Fortunately, if you’re convicted of felony false imprisonment then you may be eligible to reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor under California Penal Code § 17(b). If successful, the offense shall be deemed a misdemeanor “for all purposes” carrying the restoration of your firearm rights.

In California, false imprisonment is formally defined under California Penal Code § 236 which provides, “False imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.” In order to prove that you are guilty of false imprisonment under P.C. § 236, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: 1) You intentionally and unlawfully restrain, or confined, or detained, someone by violence or menace; and 2) You made the other person stay or go somewhere against that person’s will. Violence is defined under CALCRIM 1240 as any “means using physical force that is greater than the force reasonably necessary to restrain someone.” Additionally, menace express or implied means “…a verbal or physical threat or harm, including a deadly weapon.” For a misdemeanor conviction, the prosecutor need not prove that you acted with any violence or menace when carrying out the confinement.

False imprisonment can be conjointly charged with kidnapping. If the alleged victim was moved, even a slight distance, then you can expect to be charged with false imprisonment along with kidnapping. Furthermore, the prosecutor usually adds additional charges of assault and/or battery as well.

The punishment for false imprisonment can carry up to 20 years in state prison depending on the circumstances and level of injury the alleged victim received. But the standard felony conviction for false imprisonment without any enhancements or special allegations, then you face 16, 2, or 3 years in county jail. If you’re convicted of false imprisonment as a misdemeanor, then your maximum exposure of 1 year in the county jail with a fine not to exceed $1,000.

Some false imprisonment allegations are a misunderstanding or perhaps an exaggeration from the alleged victim. If you did not harbor the requisite intent to confine another or the other person had the option to go somewhere else on their free will then you are not guilty of this crime.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or is under investigation for false imprisonment under P.C. § 236, the contact Los Angeles False Imprisonment Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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