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Domestic violence is a serious criminal charge. If you are convicted of domestic violence you could face a number of penalties including jail time, fines, probation, and more. In addition, you will have a criminal record. Domestic violence charges are sometimes accompanied with additional charges. One of those charges is false imprisonment. In order to defend these charges it is helpful to understand more about false imprisonment in domestic violence cases in Ventura. 

What is False Imprisonment?

As the name suggests, false imprisonment means that someone contains or confines another person against their will. False imprisonment does not necessarily mean that the person has to be bound or tied up, although that could be a form of false imprisonment. The defendant must have the intent to keep someone from leaving. For example, false imprisonment can occur when one person prevents another from leaving, such as by taking their keys or locking the door. The area must be bounded, meaning that the person has no means of escaping without the potential of physical harm. 

Elements of the Crime of False Imprisonment 

False imprisonment is a crime defined under California Penal Code Section 236 or 237(a) and may be either a misdemeanor or felony. To prove false imprisonment, the following elements must be proven:

  • “The defendant intentionally and unlawfully restrained, detained, or confined a person”
  • “The defendant made the person stay or go somewhere against the person’s will”
  • The victim did not consent
  • The victim was harmed
  • The defendant caused the victim’s harm

Restraint of another person can occur through one of several ways including through the use or threat of use of force, through fraud, deceit or unreasonable duress, or through the use of physical barriers. The person being constrained does not have to know they are detained at the time. A person can be detained for any period of time, no matter how short. 

How Can I Defend Charges of False Imprisonment?

Charges of false imprisonment are serious, so it is imperative that you provide a strong defense. Some of the common defenses for false imprisonment include that the other person consented to confinement or that you had the legal right to restrain someone, most commonly in self defense. In false imprisonment charges of a parent, it is important to note that parental rights allow you to impose confinement, such as grounding, as long as you did so without malice or criminal intent. 

The crime of false imprisonment is a felony when it is effected through violence or by menace, fraud, or deceit. Additional penalties apply when the victim is a parent or elderly person, according to California Penal Code 368(b)(2). 

If you have been charged with false imprisonment in addition to domestic violence, we can help. Contact our legal team today at David Lehr Law at (805) 477-0070 for a free initial case evaluation.