Individuals in the state of California can face criminal charges for violating CA Penal Code Section 236 PC and CA Penal Code Section 237(a): False Imprisonment. Confining, detaining, or restraining another person without their consent can lead to PC 236 and 237(a) violations.
Make sure you understand the definition of false imprisonment and the penalties for a PC 236 and 237(a) conviction right here. You can also focus on common legal defenses for false imprisonment accusations with the Simmrin Law Group.
False Imprisonment: The Legal Definition
The state of California has developed a very specific legal definition of false imprisonment. In order to face a conviction under PC 236 and 237(a), an individual must:
- Purposefully Detain, Restrain, or Confine Another Person
- Force a Victim to Go Somewhere or Remain in One Place
- Harm the Victim in Some Way
False imprisonment charges only apply if the victim fails to consent to being restrained, detained, or confined.
Methods to Restrain, Detain, or Confine Individuals
You may think automatically that a victim must be locked up somehow for false imprisonment charges to apply in California. However, the state actually uses a broad definition to cover methods that can be used to restrain, detain, or confine a victim.
Individuals may falsely imprison a victim by:
- Threatening to Use Force or Actually Using Force
- Tricking the Victim with Deceit or Fraud
- Applying Unreasonable Duress to the Victim
- Setting Up Physical Barriers
Note that, in some cases, individuals can be charged with false imprisonment even if the victim did not realize they were being restrained, detained, or confined.
False Imprisonment vs. Kidnapping
In many ways, false imprisonment resembles more severe charges such as:
- California Penal Code Section 207: Kidnapping
- California Penal Code Section 209.5: Kidnapping During Carjacking
However, there are a few major differences between false imprisonment and kidnapping. Individuals may face kidnapping charges if they:
- Move Another Person a Considerable Distance
- Without the Consent of the Other Person
- While Subjecting the Person to Force or Fear
Both false imprisonment and kidnapping involve forcing someone to do something without their consent. If an individual uses or threatens violence and moves someone a substantial distance, they will more likely be charged with kidnapping.
Results of a False Imprisonment Conviction in California
False imprisonment may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California. A misdemeanor false imprisonment conviction can lead to:
- Up to $1,000 in Fines
- Up to One Year of Jail Time
Felony false imprisonment charges can be more severe, resulting in up to 3 years of time in jail. Additionally, there are provisions that allow the court system to enhance the penalties for false imprisonment cases involving elderly victims and dependent adults.
Additionally, individuals can face harsher penalties if they are charged under California Penal Code Section 210.5: False Imprisonment of a Hostage. False imprisonment of a hostage involves unlawfully restraining, confining, or detaining an individual to:
- Use Them as a Human Shield
- Prevent a Lawful Arrest
Defenses for False Imprisonment Charges
The severity of a false imprisonment charge means that you should get immediate help handling a PC 236 and 237(a) accusation. You can begin building a defense against false imprisonment charges by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.
A professional criminal defense lawyer can investigate the charges you are facing. Based on your unique situation, a legal professional may be able to show that:
You Acted with the Victim’s Consent
You should not face a false imprisonment conviction if you restrained, confined, or detained another individual with their consent. Your lawyer may be able to speak with witnesses or review messages that demonstrate consent.
You Were Trying to Protect Yourself
California gives all residents the right to act in self-defense. If you restrain, confine, or detain an individual because you have reasonable cause to believe they will cause you or another person great bodily harm or death, you should not face PC 236 and 237(a) charges.
You Were Legally Entitled to Restrain the Individual
In some cases, individuals are legally allowed to restrain other people. Police officers and law enforcement officers are, for example, able to arrest others. Shopkeepers may also detain individuals for a reasonable period of time if they have reason to believe the individual was shoplifting.
Focus on Your Future with a Criminal Defense Lawyer
CA Penal Code Section 236 PC and CA Penal Code Section 237(a): False Imprisonment charges can have a tremendous impact on your life. Let the criminal defense lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group help you handle these accusations. Contact us today to get a FREE consultation.
You can easily reach us by calling (310) 997-4688, or filling out our online contact form.