Some people believe that the term “false imprisonment” has to do only with finding yourself behind bars for a crime that you did not commit. That is not entirely true, and if you should ever stand accused of having falsely imprisoned someone else, you will quickly learn the other side of the story. It isn’t pretty, and its adverse repercussions could follow you for many years to come.
What is False Imprisonment?
Under Nevada law, false imprisonment (NRS 200.460) involves the unlawful restraint of one or more persons against their will, depriving them of their liberty without legal justification. Although the word “prison” does appear in the term, the act itself need not involve confinement or physical restraints. It must only have led the victim to believe in some way that escape was not an option. Threatening words alone can sometimes be enough.
The Two Defining Features of False Imprisonment
To show that a false imprisonment has taken place, the prosecution must prove two vital elements, demonstrating beyond a doubt that:
- The accused did detain or restrain another human being without that person’s permission, and
- The accused had no legal right or authority to behave in that manner.
If the state cannot establish that each of these things was true, it will have no case. It is also important to realize that if ransom demands have entered the picture, allegations of false imprisonment no longer apply. Nevada will charge such offenders instead with the crime of kidnapping.
When False Imprisonment is Not a Crime
The state of Nevada realizes that in some instances, the restraint or confinement of another individual may in fact be legal. In most cases, it is not a crime to detain another person when:
- The alleged victim actually agrees to the loss of liberty.
- The accused perpetrator resorts to restraint or confinement while lawfully engaging in self-defense.
- The case involves a parent who imposes restrictions as a disciplinary measure while ensuring that this form of punishment causes no harm to the child.
Such exceptions can serve as effective means of defense against the charge. In all other cases, the defendant who hopes to avoid conviction will have to either demonstrate that the false imprisonment did not take place or justify the circumstances under which it did.
The Penalties for False Imprisonment
In the state of Nevada, anyone convicted of false imprisonment can face a variety of punishments for which the severity will normally conform to the gravity of the case.
Nevada considers false imprisonment committed without a deadly weapon to be a gross misdemeanor for which the penalties include a prison sentence of up to 364 days and as much as $2,000 in potential fines.
On the other hand, if the person did use a deadly weapon while committing this crime, Nevada will prosecute the case as a Category B felony that is punishable by a one- to six-year term in Nevada State Prison. Furthermore, if the defendant restrained the victim for use as a human shield, the potential prison sentence can extend to as many as 15 years.
When Prisoners Falsely Imprison
An inmate who commits false imprisonment while in legal custody will face Category B felony charges and a state prison sentence that ranges from one to six years. If that inmate should use a deadly weapon while committing the identical crime, his sentence could extend to as many as 20 years in the same facility.
Fighting Charges of False Imprisonment
Once the state of Nevada has succeeded in convicting you on charges of false imprisonment, fines and jail times could be just the start of your troubles. You may also find yourself forced to make restitution to the victim for any physical and emotional harm that you have caused. Even after serving your time, your criminal record will live on to wreak havoc with your attempts to attend college, get a job or purchase a home. A felony conviction can make it impossible to vote or even to work at your chosen vocation.
If you are facing the serious charge of false imprisonment, the expert criminal defense lawyers at Weiner Law Group can help. Our qualified legal team will fight to get your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Furthermore, if it should come to that, we are ready and able to fight for your rights in a court of law.
Don’t let charges of false imprisonment ruin your life. Call the criminal defense lawyers at Weiner Law Group today at 702-202-0500 or fill out our contact form, and let us get started in mounting your defense.