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What constitutes false imprisonment?

Being arrested is an overwhelming and unfortunate event to experience. While this may not result in formal charges being placed against an individual, it could result in serious criminal allegations. Thus, no matter the reason for law enforcement to restrain an individual and apprehend them, it is important that individuals understand their rights leading up to and during this situation. This could help establish if a lawful arrest is actually taking place or if their rights are, in fact, being violated.

What constitutes false imprisonment? This is defined as the unlawful restraint of an individual against their will by a person that does not have legal authority or justification to do so. For example, false imprisonment could occur when an individual, who is not a law enforcement officer, uses a gun to keep a person from moving or leaving a room. Such a situation could be during the commission of a bank robbery and the robber is seeking to keep all witnesses inside the building.

This situation could also occur during a false arrest. If an officer does not have the legal authority to place a person under arrest, it turns into false imprisonment the second a person is taken into custody. There are three elements to false imprisonment. First, there must be a willful detention. Next, the detention must have been without consent. Finally, the detention must have been unlawful.

False imprisonment can come in many forms, and often, those experiencing such a situation do not realize it is occurring. Therefore, if you suspect that you were unlawfully arrested, it is important to consider your defense options. This not only protects your rights but could also help you avoid criminal penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "False Imprisonment," accessed Sept. 3, 2017

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