Defining False Imprisonment
The act of false imprisonment is defined under New Jersey Statute 2C:13-3 as the act of “knowingly restrain[ing] another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty.” This restraint may take the form of physical actions, such as tying someone with rope in a way that they cannot escape or keeping someone locked in a room with no other means of exit.
However, false imprisonment may also take the form of intimidation. If someone threatens another person with violence if they attempt to leave their house, or if a police officer forces someone to stay at a traffic stop for an unreasonable amount of time, they may face this charge.
While many cases of false imprisonment involve domestic abuse, It should be noted that false imprisonment may not apply to all cases regarding children. 2C:13-3 states that if the plaintiff is a minor and the defendant is “a relative or legal guardian of such child,” the latter may use as “an affirmative defense” that their only reason for doing what they did was “to assume control of such child.”
Consequences for False Imprisonment
Something that needs to be understood about false imprisonment is that it considered a disorderly persons offense. As with other disorderly persons charges, anyone convicted of false imprisonment can have this offense expunged from their record. However, they have to wait five years before they can request this.
There is a semantic distinction between “offenses” and “crimes” in the New Jersey law books, but the difference is somewhat blurred in this case. Unlike with many other offenses, a conviction for false imprisonment or any other disorderly persons offense will still appear in or give the defendant a criminal record.
As for the actual penalties themselves, the consequences of a guilty finding for false imprisonment may vary depending on the presence of any mitigating factors. For example, locking someone away in a room for five minutes is treated differently than locking someone away in a room for five days. The maximum fine for false imprisonment is $1000, and the maximum jail time is six months.
However, if the restraint places someone “in circumstances exposing the other to risk of serious bodily injury” or involves holding someone in involuntary servitude, as written in Statute 2C:13-2, this offense may be elevated to criminal restraint. This is a legitimate crime and a third-degree crime at that. As serious as a false imprisonment charge may be, the consequences for criminal restraint may be much tougher.
Contact NJ Personal Injury Lawyers Today
False imprisonment is a terrible offense, and anyone who has ever experienced it deserves at least the chance to receive some form of compensation. However, false imprisonment is considered a type of personal injury, which means that according to NJ Statute 2A:14-2, anyone subjected to false imprisonment has only two years to file a claim.
That is where an experienced personal injury lawyer comes in. The New Jersey false imprisonment attorneys at the Law Offices of James C. Dezao, P.A. are willing to defend your claim. Contact us at (973) 358-6134 and receive a free consultation today.