Domestic violence situations often begin slowly, with the victim’s relatives and friends getting a bad feeling about the relationship long before the abuser throws the first punch. The first warning sign is often that the abuser is too controlling. Under California law, simply preventing someone from leaving a place can be a crime, called false imprisonment. David Lehr Law can help if you are charged with it.
California Penal Code 236 PC defines the crime of false imprisonment as unlawfully restraining, detaining, or confining someone against their will. According to California Penal Code 237 PC, false imprisonment is a wobbler offense, which means that the prosecution can make it a misdemeanor or a felony as they choose. When it is a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, and when it is a felony, you can be sentenced to up to three years.
If you physically prevent your partner from leaving your house or one of its rooms, you can be charged with false imprisonment. Here are some examples of incidents that can lead to false imprisonment charges in domestic violence cases:
- Physically grabbing and holding your spouse or partner as he or she tries to leave the room and deescalate an argument
- Locking the victim in a part of your house that does not unlock from the inside, such as a closet, tool shed, or basement
- Physically preventing your son or daughter from leaving the house or one of its rooms if he or she is at least 18 years old
- Handcuffing or tying the victim to a piece of furniture or other heavy item so that the victim cannot get away or call for help
- Standing in the doorway of a room, holding a weapon, and threatening your partner with it when he or she tries to leave the room
If you get convicted of the crime of false imprisonment against a member of your family or a current or former romantic partner, you could go to jail for domestic violence even if you did not inflict physical violence on the victim. If, in the course of confining the victim, you committed physical violence and caused injury, you could get additional charges. If the victim’s injuries are serious enough, you could even get the great bodily injury sentencing enhancement, which could add up to six years to your sentence.
As with any crime, if you get charged with false imprisonment, you have the right to make a case for your innocence. Your Ventura, California domestic violence false imprisonment defense lawyer can help you choose the most appropriate defense. These are some common defenses to false imprisonment charges:
- You did not physically restrain the victim. He was physically able to leave the house but chose not to and misrepresented the situation when describing it to the police.
- You are the legal parent of the victim, who was under 18 at the time of the alleged false imprisonment. As the parent of a minor, you had the right to stop her from leaving the house.
- In restraining the victim, you were acting in self-defense. She threatened to get her gun from the basement, so you locked her in the closet until the police arrived.
The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of David Lehr can help you if you are facing charges for false imprisonment. We represent defendants in criminal cases in the Ventura, California area.
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The Law Offices of David Lehr cannot promise to get your criminal charges dropped or to get you acquitted, and any lawyer who claims to guarantee that they can do so is not telling the truth. Our criminal defense lawyers will give you legal advice based on your best interest and on sound legal principles. The information on this website is not a substitute for contacting our law firm and does not imply an attorney/client relationship. Contact the Law Offices of David Lehr in Ventura, California to set up a consultation.
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