When individuals in North Carolina and elsewhere are accused of a crime, he or she will likely be placed under arrested. Presuming that authorities have reasonable suspicion and probable cause, this action is most likely legally carried out. But what happens if an officer does this without the necessary evidence to back up a suspicion? This could generate a complex situation that could help a defendant poke holes in the state’s case, evening suppressing evidence used against them.

False imprisonment occurs when an individual commits the act of restraint against another, which results in the confinement of that person in a bounded area. With regards to the act of restrain, this can be a physical barrier, the use of physical force, the failure to release or even the invalid use of legal authority. A bounded area only exists if the freedom to move is limited in all directions. This means that if there is a reasonable means to escape, then there are is not bounded.

What are the elements of false imprisonment? There are four elements for this act. The first is that the individual willfully acts. Next, he or she must intend to confine the other person without their consent and without the authority of law. Third, this act must cause the confinement of the other person. Finally, the confined individual must be aware of his or her confinement.

While an arrest following a criminal suspicion is common, this is only legally authorized if the proper steps are taken. Thus, a defendant accused of a crime could use false imprisonment as a defense to the crime he or she is accused of. This is by no means an easy defense to assert, making it vital that defendants take the time to become aware of their rights and options.

Source: Law.cornell.edu, “False Imprisonment,” accessed Oct. 1, 2017