When most people think of domestic violence, they think in terms of domestic battery and assault. Hitting, yelling, threats, and use of weapons are the first things that come to mind. Despite this belief, there are many other ways to physically and psychologically abuse your spouse or family member without even touching them. False imprisonment is a form of domestic violence that is common but not often spoken of. False imprisonment, under Florida law, means “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.”
Understanding False Imprisonment
False imprisonment can occur against both adults and children, although it can be considered kidnapping or child abuse in certain cases involving minors. A first time false imprisonment offense is a felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and considerable associated fines.
False imprisonment is essentially confining someone against their will. While this can involve locks, rooms, or other frightening possibilities, false imprisonment in the domestic violence context largely occurs when one person will not allow another person to leave the room or house. A person has a constitutional right to be free, to travel, and to be autonomous. Preventing someone from leaving their home, delivering threats, or physically restraining another person making them unable to leave are all considered false imprisonment.
Domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” “Family or household member” does not necessarily mean relation by marriage or blood, but also includes people who are living together or share a child together. This means that you can commit domestic violence against someone other than your spouse—another common misconception of domestic violence law. While of course hurting or abusing anyone is a crime, harming a household family member can escalate the severity of the crime significantly if domestic violence and/or false imprisonment charges are brought against you.
False Imprisonment Domestic Violence Lawyers
Facing domestic violence charges is very serious. If you are ultimately convicted of a domestic violence offense, there may be severe consequences that may affect your professional, family, and personal life. You may face custody battles, job loss, or other family issues. Domestic violence charges are usually brought when tensions are high, arguments ensue, or problems are going on in the home, which can escalate the perceived severity of the situation. At Moses & Rooth, our experienced domestic violence attorneys will take the time to listen to your whole story, so we understand exactly what happened and how to put forth your best defense. When possible, we will seek dismissals of charges and lenient sentencing, especially for clients that are first time offenders. We will candidly and confidently represent you in court and strive for the best possible outcome. Contact our Orlando office to learn more about your options if you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Florida.