False Imprisonment in North Carolinafalse imprisonment

The following blog entry explores the criminal charge of false imprisonment in North Carolina. At Gilles Law we encounter clients with a wide variety or criminal charges, some of which are not as well-known and common as others. A particular trend that we have noticed is that people get into fights or arguments that escalate into charges that people would not have expected.   One of these charges is false imprisonment.

People understand that fights can lead to assault charges, but they do not realize that is can lead more serious criminal charges as well, under certain circumstances. In blog, we will shed a little bit of light on that.  Like all of our blogs, this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the services of a criminal defense lawyer.

What is false imprisonment in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, false imprisonment is a common law crime, that involves the unlawful restraint of another person.  It is not necessary for the defendant to have locked someone in a room.

Elements of a false imprisonment

  • Intentionally or unlawfully
  • Restraints or detains
  • A person
  • Without the person’s consent.

How is false imprisonment punished?

Standing by itself, false imprisonment is a Class 1 misdemeanor and follows the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines.  However, this crime is often charged along with a kidnapping charge.

How false imprisonment charges come about

False imprisonment charges are often related to domestic disputes.  What we have seen several times is that couples get into an argument, the argument escalates and one party doesn’t allow the other to leave. This usually occurs by either blocking the door way or making some sort of threat.

Exceptions to false imprisonment

Law enforcement

  • If there was probable cause to arrest someone and charge them with a crime, and the person was later found not guilty or the charges were dismissed, that alone does not constitute the crime of false imprisonment.

False imprisonment is a crime.  Instances of police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct or judicial misconduct that lead to someone being wrongfully imprisonment is usually a civil matter that is solved with a lawsuit.

Shopkeepers privilege

  • In North Carolina, in certain circumstances, a merchant may detain a person who he suspects is a shoplifter, as long as the detention is done in a reasonable manger and for a reasonable length of time.

This means that the employees of a store do have the right to detain someone while they wait for the police to come and handle the situation.

Criminal charges are numerous and varied and require the help of a trained professional.  If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, charged with a crime in South Carolina, or charged with a federal crime, contact us.  Gilles Law is a criminal defense firm located in Charlotte North Carolina. We are here to help.