Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association Badge
United States District Court - Southern District of Florida - Badge

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is a lesser-included offense of kidnapping, although both crimes, by themselves, are felony offenses. False imprisonment involves restricting another person's freedom of movement against his or her will. Kidnapping, on the other hand, is an offense in which the alleged offender also has the intent to hold the alleged victim for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage, commit or facilitate commission of any felony, inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person, or interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

Many false imprisonment arrests stem from domestic disputes, but there can be other settings in which people may be charged with this crime. In addition to the possible criminal penalties an individual faces when charged with false imprisonment, an alleged victim can also file a civil claim against the alleged offender to seek possible monetary damages.

Lawyer for False Imprisonment Arrests in Miami-Dade County, FL

Were you arrested for false imprisonment in South Florida? Try not to speak to authorities until you are first able to contact The Hoffman Firm.

Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman aggressively defends clients accused of violent crimes in Opa-Locka, Miami, North Miami, Aventura, South Miami, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and several other surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County. Our lawyer can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (305) 249-0090 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.

North Miami False Imprisonment Information Center

Back to top

Florida False Imprisonment Charges

Under Florida Statute § 787.02(a), false imprisonment is defined as "forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will." In most cases, false imprisonment is a third-degree felony

Under Florida Statute § 787.02(3)(a), however, false imprisonment is a first-degree felony if a person commits false imprisonment upon a child under 13 years of age and, in the course of committing the offense, commits any one of the following offenses: 

  • Aggravated child abuse
  • Sexual battery
  • Lewd or lascivious battery
  • Lewd or lascivious molestation
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct; 
  • Lewd or lascivious exhibition; 
  • Procuring a child for prostitution; 
  • Forcing, compelling, or coercing another to become a prostitute; 
  • Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited; or 
  • Human trafficking for commercial sexual activity in which a child under the age of 18, a mentally defective person, or a mentally incapacitated person was involved.

Confinement of a child under the 13 years of age is considered against her or his will under Florida Statute § 787.02(1)(b) if the confinement is without the consent of the child's parent or legal guardian.

Back to top

False Imprisonment Penalties in Miami-Dade County

False imprisonment charged carries the possibility of both criminal and civil penalties. In the criminal case, the alleged offender's guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt—the highest possible burden of proof. 

If a person is convicted of false imprisonment, he or she could receive either of the following maximum sentences if convicted: 

  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000; or 
  • First-Degree Felony — Up to life in prison and fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to the criminal case, a person accused of false imprisonment could also be the defendant in a civil action filed by the alleged victim. In a civil case, the burden of proof is the much lower standard of a preponderance of the evidence—essentially meaning that the greater weight of the evidence supports the plaintiff's claims.

The civil action is entirely separate from the criminal case. While the burden of proof is lower in a civil claim, the alleged victim will still need to prove that an alleged offender intentionally restrained him or her in an unwanted and unreasonable way—meaning the alleged offender purposefully retrained the alleged victim with the knowledge or substantial certainty that the restraint would cause harm.

Back to top

Florida False Imprisonment Resources

Florida Standard Jury Instructions | Chapter 9: Kidnapping and False Imprisonment — Visit this section of the Florida Supreme Court website to view the jury instructions for false imprisonment cases. Standard Jury Instructions are provided in Rich Text Format (RTF) and downloadable. The instructions provide key definitions and comments.

“Double Offense” Problems in Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Cases — The Florida Bar is the statewide professional organization of lawyers, and the Florida Bar Journal features articles intended to educate or inform readers on issues of substantive law and practical concern to attorneys. View a December 2003 Florida Bar Journal article discussing kidnapping and false imprisonment offenses as well as the “double offense” problem created by the broad definition of a constraint.

Back to top

Find a False Imprisonment Defense Attorney in Miami, FL

If you were arrested in Miami-Dade County for an alleged false imprisonment crime, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm represents people in communities throughout South Florida, including Coral Gables, Homestead, Hialeah, Doral, Aventura, North Miami, South Miami, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, and many others.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami who can fight to possible get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. 

Call (305) 249-0090 or fill out an online contact form to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.

Back to top

Client Reviews
"I found myself in an unfortunate situation. A fried gave me Evan' s personal number and we spoke for over an hour. I felt so reassured and grateful for his time. Needless to say I write this review with great pleasure. A call to thank evan would not be justified as I want anyone who ever finds themselves in my situation to know who to call. Thank you evan I cannot say enough good things about you." Alexander
Mr. Hoffman was able to get my offenses reduces to a lesser degree. His fees are one of the lowest that I could find for the type of representation that I required. If I ever need to be represented by an attorney I would surely use Mr. Hoffman again. C. Wright
“HE’S THE BEST!!” If I could give a 10 stars I would. Very professional, kind and understanding. Very prompt in returning my phone calls and updating me on everything. He provided his cell phone number in case I had any question or concerns. I RECOMMEND HIM. He takes his time with you and makes sure you understand STEP BY STEP. So GLAD I picked him. GOT HIM ON SPEED DIAL. Hopefully this helps someone in knowing that they will not be wasting their money. Claudia