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False Imprisonment

Florida Statute § 787.02(a) defines the phrase false imprisonment as meaning "forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will." 

False imprisonment is a lesser-included offense of kidnapping, which involves an alleged offender confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to hold the victim for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage, commit or facilitate commission of any felony, inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person, or interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function. 

While false imprisonment is the lesser offense of kidnapping, the crime still results in a person facing felony charges. Additionally, people convicted of false imprisonment can face both criminal and civil liability—meaning an alleged offender not only faces a possible prison sentence and fines but could also be subject to paying additional monetary damages to the victim.

Attorney for False Imprisonment Arrests in Broward County, FL

If you were arrested for false imprisonment in South Florida, it would be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of violent crimes in Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, and several other surrounding areas of Broward County. 

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who will fight to protect your rights and help you achieve the most desirable possible outcome to your case. Call (954) 524-4474 right now to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


Fort Lauderdale False Imprisonment Information Center


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False Imprisonment Charges in Florida

Florida Statute § 787.02(2) establishes that false imprisonment is generally a third-degree felony. False imprisonment can become a first-degree felony, however, when an alleged offender violates Florida Statute § 787.02(3)(a) by committing the offense of false imprisonment upon a child under the age of 13 and, in the course of committing the crime, committing any one of the following offenses: 

  • Sexual battery; 
  • Lewd or lascivious battery; 
  • Lewd or lascivious molestation; 
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct; 
  • Lewd or lascivious exhibition; 
  • Procuring a child for prostitution; 
  • Forcing, compelling, or coercing another to become a prostitute; 
  • Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited; or 
  • Human trafficking for commercial sexual activity in which a child under the age of 18, a mentally defective person, or a mentally incapacitated person was involved. 

Florida Statute § 787.02(1)(b) states that confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.


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False Imprisonment Penalties in Broward County

Depending on how a false imprisonment crime has been graded, an alleged offender could face either of the following maximum sentences if convicted: 

  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000; or 
  • First-Degree Felony — Up to life in prison and fine of up to $10,000. 

In false imprisonment cases, an alleged victim may also file a civil claim seeking money damages. An alleged victim needs to have suffered some injury or harm as the result of being confined, abducted, imprisoned, or restrained.

It is essential to understand that a civil case is completely separate from a criminal case. Thus, an acquittal in a criminal case does not necessarily mean that an alleged offender will be automatically off the hook for civil liability.

An alleged victim still needs to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, (a lower burden of proof than the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal cases), that an alleged offender intentionally restrained him or her.


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False Imprisonment Resources in Florida

Florida Statute § 787.02 | False imprisonment; false imprisonment of a child under age 13, aggravating circumstances — View the full text of the state law governing false imprisonment crimes. Use this website to also find information about the crimes relating to first-degree felony offenses involving children under the age of 13. You can also find a link to the rules of construction, which relates to the imposition of separate judgments and sentences for the first-degree offense described in paragraph Florida Statute § 787.02(a) and for each separate offense enumerated in Florida Statute § 787.02(a)1.-Florida Statute § 787.02(a)5. 

“Double Offense” Problems in Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Cases — View the full text of a December 2003 Florida Bar Journal article discussing the differences between kidnapping and false imprisonment as well as when a person could be imprisoned for one or both offenses. The author states that the statutes for kidnapping and false imprisonment create a “double offense” problem—meaning they "define the constraint element of the offenses so broadly that the type of constraint inherent in the commission of other offenses (e.g., robbery, sexual battery) often also proves an additional offense of kidnapping or false imprisonment." The author offers two solutions: Having specific actions treated as enhancement factors rather than separate offenses and requiring some version of the test adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in Faison v. State, 426 So. 2d 963 (Fla. 1983).


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Find a False Imprisonment Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Were you arrested in Broward County for an alleged false imprisonment offense? You should contact The Hoffman Firm before making any statement to authorities.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney lawyer Evan A. Hoffman represents individuals in communities throughout South Florida, including Hollywood, Lauderhill, Margate, Miramar, Pompano Beach, and many others.

Our lawyer will review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.


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All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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