Are False Imprisonment and Kidnapping the Same?

People often assume that false imprisonment and kidnapping mean the same thing. However, that is far from the truth. The confusion around this two particularly arises from the fact that they share some similarities. According to The Medlin Law Firm, knowing and understanding the differences between kidnapping and false imprisonment can help you better understand the charges and defences. Let’s Dive in.

What is False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is when a person intentionally restricts another individual’s freedom of movement. It can also occur when someone detains or confines another person without legal justification or against their will. Based on that definition, false imprisonment can be both a civil cause of action and a crime, which makes it fall under the category of an intentional tort.

For you to be found guilty of false imprisonment, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did the following:

  • Confined, detained, or restricted another individual on purpose
  • The person you detained was then compelled to stay in that particular area for a certain amount of time.
  • The act of detaining that individual was done against their will.
  • The individual you detained was harmed in some way due to your conduct.
  • The perpetrator’s action partly caused the victim’s injuries.

What is Kidnapping?

This involves the intentional act of moving or taking away a person against their will by use of threats or force. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:

  • Kidnapped someone by inducing terror or forcefully taking, stealing, holding, arresting, or detaining them.
  • Is guilty of transferring an individual to another place, state, nation, or country.

What is the Difference Between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

The distinction between false imprisonment and kidnapping mainly lies in the fact that the victim is moved when kidnapped. On the other hand, false imprisonment detains the victim in one spot without relocating them to another county, nation, state, or country.

Another difference is that false imprisonment can be a relatively harmless or inoffensive restraint. False imprisonment usually attracts a misdemeanour in some states, making it punishable by no more than a year in jail.

On the other hand, kidnapping can result in at least eight years in jail and a fine of $10,000 or both. However, the punishment might be much harsher for people with a criminal record.

Defence Techniques

What happens if you are accused of kidnapping or false imprisonment? The first step you should take is hiring a criminal defence attorney. Hiring a lawyer ensures that your rights and interests are preserved. Also, having an attorney by your side helps guarantee you a positive outcome. Some possible defence strategies for false imprisonment include:

  • Insufficient proof
  • The incident didn’t happen, as false claims were made
  • The defendant carried out the self-imprisonment in self-defence

Possible defences against kidnapping would include:

  • Insufficient proof
  • The kidnapping didn’t take place, and false claims were made
  • The kidnapping act was done with the victim’s permission
  • The accused individual didn’t do the kidnapping act

How to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

Criminal charges like false imprisonment and kidnapping can be delicate matters to handle. One wrong move and you could end up facing devastating consequences. It doesn’t matter how bleak your situation looks; having a criminal defence attorney can make an enormous difference. So, how do you find the right lawyer for your case?

Check their Responsive Time: The first thing you should check is the responsive time of the attorney. A good criminal defence lawyer should respond pretty fast whenever their clients reach out. Your lawyer should also be able to arrange meetings with their clients immediately after contact.

Area of Specialization

Not all lawyers can effectively handle criminal cases, so hiring someone with experience in criminal law is advisable. You can determine if your lawyer has experience in criminal law based on their success rates and the number of cases they have handled.


If you are still undecided on the attorney to hire, you can always ask your neighbours, friends, or family members for referrals. This helps save you so much time, as you wouldn’t have to continue searching for the right attorney.

Excellent Communication Skills

Any criminal case can be intricate, so it’s important to have a lawyer who communicates with you every step of the legal procedure.

Having the right lawyer by your side is important, especially if you want a positive outcome. Your lawyer can apply their insight into the law to your case, ensuring you get a favourable outcome from your case.

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