Have you been charged with False Imprisonment?
If you have been charged with false imprisonment, you need to consult a specialist criminal lawyer, before appearing in Court.
As a common law offence, false imprisonment is not contained in the legislation. It is nonetheless a very serious offence – the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison.
What is False Imprisonment?
The charge of false imprisonment in Victoria is defined in the common law as the intentional deprivation of an another person’s liberty by way of physical force, threats or coercion in circumstances where the other person is not consenting and has no reasonable means of escape, and no lawful excuse for the conduct exists.
Before deciding whether to plead guilty or not guilty to false imprisonment charges, some questions need to be carefully considered by you and your lawyer.
- Does the prosecution have a case?
- Did you restrain someone against their will?
- Did you have any valid reason for doing this?
- Did you act alone?
- Is there a defence?
Read on for further information about False Imprisonment.
Elements of the offence
To be convicted of the offence, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:
The defendant acted intentionally to deprive the complainant of their liberty;
The defendant restrained the alleged victim against his or her will; and
It is important to understand this does not need to have been physical restraint, threats or other intimidating conduct will be sufficient.
For this element to be made out, the complainant must have had no reasonable means of escape.
- The defendant acted without lawful excuse;
The maximum penalty
Level 5 imprisonment being a maximum of 10 years. Although the charge itself is not contained in the legislation, the maximum penalty is found in section 320 of the Crimes Act 1958.
Where will my case be heard?
False Imprisonment cases will now often be heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria or the County Court depending upon the seriousness of the alleged offending. Previously this charge could only be heard in the superior Courts.
Questions to consider
Do you have a defence?
If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence?
What to do if charged with false imprisonment
See an experienced criminal lawyer urgently. What many lawyers do not understand is that this is quite a hard charge for the prosecution to establish. We have successfully challenged this charge on many occasions.
Ensure that you don’t leave your preparation to the last minute, as adequate time to prepare is critical in relation to any criminal matter.
If you have been charged with False Imprisonment, we can help. Arrange to see one of our experienced lawyers today.