The Facts About Unlawful or False Imprisonment

The Facts About Unlawful or False Imprisonment

What does it mean to be unlawfully or falsely imprisoned? These terms actually have multiple facets. On one hand, it is a felony offense in the state of Arizona to unlawfully detain another individual without warrant or license to do so. On the other hand, you may have been wrongfully imprisoned after law enforcement did not take the appropriate measures to get a warrant or obtain evidence for your arrest.

Get the Facts on Unlawful Imprisonment

First, let's consider false imprisonment from the standpoint of Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1303. In sum, this criminal law states that it is illegal to knowingly and unlawfully detain or restrain another person. When people hear the word "imprisonment" they may automatically think of a formal booking and "locking up" process that takes place after a formal arrest. This is not always the case. According to this statute, it could be considered unlawful imprisonment even if you refuse to let someone out of a room, house, etc.

According to this statute, unlawful imprisonment of another person can be charged as a class six felony offense. If convicted of this crime, then the defendant faces imprisonment for up to a year or more prison time if they have been previously convicted of a similar or violent offense. Criminal charges are more serious when the individual who was allegedly wrongfully imprisoned is harmed.

Next, let's look at unlawful imprisonment as it related to a person being detained by law enforcement. Legally, a law enforcement official or peace officer cannot arrest an individual without probable cause to do so. Once an arrest has been made, that individual will be booked and made to wait in custody before they can see a judge. If there is not enough evidence against that person to warrant criminal charges, then the case must be dismissed and the individual released.

These types of false imprisonment cases are not criminal, but civil. For example, a person who believes that they have been falsely imprisoned may be able to bring a civil claim against whoever detained them. Civil cases are different from criminal cases primarily because the burden of proof is not on the defendant to disprove the claims of the plaintiff, but rather on the plaintiff to prove that the false imprisonment took place. Here, the "innocent until proven guilty" standard does not apply.

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If you would like to learn more about false or unlawful imprisonment, please do not hesitate to contact our firm. Knowles Law Firm, PLC has what it takes to guide you through the Phoenix criminal justice system. Many of our attorneys were once prosecutors, which adds a unique element to our practice and enables us to see cases from all angles. Again, if you would like to learn more or obtain a free consultation, please call us today.


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