Legal Dictionary

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False Imprisonment

False Imprisonment is unlawful restraint that substantially interferes with the personal liberty (i.e. freedom of movement) of another (California Penal Code Section 236). False Imprisonment is a crime and a tort (civil wrong). In California, False Imprisonment is generally charged as a misdemeanor. A felony will be charged if the False Imprisonment is accomplished by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit.

False Imprisonment as a misdemeanor carries a fine and up to one year in county jail. Felony False Imprisonment provides for a potential state prison sentence. False Imprisonment is sometimes referred to as unlawful detention, unlawful restraint, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest, or criminal restraint. See also and compare to False Arrest.