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Weinstein Legal personal injury law firm Fort Lauderdale

What Is the Difference between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

 
11/02/2021
Weinstein Legal
Read Time: 6 Minutes

If you are facing criminal charges, you may be wondering what the differences are between the offenses of kidnapping vs. false imprisonment. Both are serious charges, considered felony offenses in the state of Florida, that can carry significant prison time, court fines, and more. However, when looking at kidnapping vs. false imprisonment, the courts consider kidnapping to be the more serious charge of the two. No matter which offense you are facing allegations of, it is essential that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to begin working on your case. You have too much to lose, including valuable time with loved ones, employment and housing opportunities, important Constitutional rights, and so much more.

To learn more about the differences between kidnapping vs. false imprisonment and to begin forming your defense, contact attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal today. Mr. Shafran is a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer with years of experiencing helping clients to prove their innocence in a court of law. He is the head of the criminal defense division at Weinstein Legal and is also a partner at the firm. Mr. Shafran is the South Florida criminal defense attorney to turn to when you need experienced legal representation.

Call the team at Weinstein Legal for a free and confidential case evaluation to review the unique facts surrounding your arrest, review your criminal history, gain information on possible penalties, and learn more about kidnapping vs. false imprisonment charges. Ask for defense attorney Matt Shafran and start working on your case today. With each day that passes, the prosecutor's office is working to build a conviction so that they may imprison you. Don't allow this to happen–Mr. Shafran will fight tirelessly to prove your innocence and protect your rights in a court of law.

Call (954) 845-0505 now. Our phones are open 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.

What Is the Difference between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

The legal definitions for kidnapping and false imprisonment are quite similar according to Florida law, making it easy for individuals to get confused regarding the differences between the two offenses.

According to Florida state statute 787.01, kidnapping is:

"Forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to:

  • Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.
  • Commit or facilitate the commission of any felony.
  • Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person.
  • Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function."

Kidnapping is, at minimum, a first-degree felony offense and, at worst, a life felony in the state of Florida.

According to Florida state statute 787.02, false imprisonment is:

"Forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will."

False imprisonment is, at minimum, a third-degree felony offense and, at worst, a first-degree felony in the state of Florida. You can see that false imprisonment charges are the less serious of the two, with penalties that are less steep compared to a kidnapping conviction. You will also notice that the definitions are virtually identical, yet false imprisonment charges lack the same malicious or criminal intent that is present with kidnapping.

Another significant difference between kidnapping vs. false imprisonment charges is that the act of kidnapping involves moving a person to another location and then proceeding to hold them there against their will for another criminal purpose. False imprisonment, on the other hand, can mean detaining a person exactly where they are without any further malicious intent.

Common examples of false imprisonment include:

  • Locking another person in a room or closet against their will
  • Using physical force to restrain another person in place for any period of time
  • Tying a person up, or tying them in place to another object
  • Failing to let someone out of a car when they ask to leave
  • Blocking a person's exit from a room during an argument or altercation
  • Failing to let a patient leave a nursing home, hospital, or medical office upon their request
  • And more

How Long Do You Go to Jail for False Imprisonment?

Your potential sentencing upon conviction will vary depending on the unique factors of your case and whether you are facing charges for kidnapping vs. false imprisonment. As the less serious charge, the possible prison sentence for false imprisonment is not quite as long.

Prison sentencing for false imprisonment charges in Florida:

  • If you are facing charges for third-degree false imprisonment in the state of Florida, your sentence may be up to five years in prison and up to five years of probation, plus additional penalties as dictated by the court.
  • If you are facing charges for first-degree false imprisonment in the state of Florida, your sentence may be up to thirty years in prison, plus additional penalties as dictated by the court.

Prison sentencing for kidnapping charges in Florida:

  • If you are facing charges for first-degree kidnapping in the state of Florida, your sentence may be up to thirty years in prison, plus additional penalties as dictated by the court.
  • If you are facing a life felony for kidnapping in the state of Florida, your sentence may be life in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, plus additional penalties as dictated by the court.

What Type of Movement Is Sufficient for a Charge of Kidnapping?

One of the most important elements of kidnapping vs. false imprisonment in the state of Florida is the act of moving the victim from one location to another. But what type of movement is sufficient to qualify for the charge of kidnapping? Does moving a person to another room in the same house count? Do you have to use physical force for the movement to count? These are important questions.

In regard to kidnapping charges, there are three types of movement that generally qualify as being sufficient for the charge. These include:

  1. Moving another person by force (such as picking them up and carrying them to another location)
  2. Moving another person by threat of force or implied force (such as holding a weapon to their back and instructing them to walk)
  3. Convincing another person to move to another location by fraud (such as by telling a child you are taking them to their parent)

It is highly unlikely that you can receive charges for both kidnapping and false imprisonment as the result of the same crime, as once you move an individual to another location, what would have been a charge of false imprisonment is automatically upgraded to the more serious offense of kidnapping.

No matter which crime you are facing charges for, kidnapping vs. false imprisonment, it is imperative that you contact a defense attorney such as Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal right away. The state is currently working to secure a conviction against you, which in addition to a lengthy prison sentence may include penalties such as hefty court fines, mandated restitution to the victim(s), forfeiture of your weapons and firearms, the loss of your voting rights, and much more.

Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation

If you're facing charges for kidnapping or false imprisonment in South Florida, contact the team at Weinstein Legal today and ask to speak with our experienced false imprisonment & kidnapping defense attorney Matt Shafran. Mr. Shafran will provide you with a free and confidential case evaluation to review the unique facts surrounding your charges, your past criminal history, and more. From there, you will receive advice regarding best next steps and can begin building your defense.

Whether this is your first criminal offense, you are a repeat offender, are currently on parole or probation, or have other significant concerns, defense attorney Matt Shafran is here to help. Call the team at Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation and legal consultation.

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