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Kidnapping / False Imprisonment

Domestic violence defense attorney Tallahassee, Florida

In Florida, it is illegal for any person to restrain or confine another individual against their will. Depending on the specific circumstances of the alleged incident, a person accused of these types of actions can result in criminal charges for kidnapping or false imprisonment.

When people think of kidnapping, the most common scenario we think of is an adult attempting to lure a child into their van with candy. While this is form of kidnapping, the offense goes beyond that. Similarly, false imprisonment encompasses multiple actions where a person unlawfully detains someone else by force. These crimes are commonly associated with family disputes and domestic violence situations.

You should be aware that both charges have extremely grave consequences, including possibly being sentenced up to life in prison. However, working with a skilled defense attorney who is experienced in kidnapping and false imprisonment can help you avoid the penalties that come with a conviction.

Tallahassee Kidnapping Lawyer

Have you recently been accused of illegally detaining another person in Northern Florida? If so, you should ensure that you have an experienced Tallahassee kidnapping and false imprisonment attorney that will fight to protect your rights and future.

Pumphrey Law aggressively defends people throughout Leon County and many surrounding areas such as Calhoun County, Gulf County, Holmes County, Okaloosa County, and Walton County. Our firm will provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation as soon as you call (850) 681-7777.

Leon County Kidnapping / False Imprisonment Overview

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Florida Charges for Kidnapping / False Imprisonment

While some people use false imprisonment and kidnapping interchangeably, they are two different criminal charges.

Kidnapping is defined under Florida Statute Section 787.01 as the act of any person who forcibly, secretly, or by threat confines, abducts, or imprisons another person against their will or lawful authority. To prove the offense of kidnapping, it implies the accused person had the intent to either:

  1. Hold the victim for purposes of ransom, reward, or as a shield or hostage;
  2. Commit or facilitate the commission of any felony offense;
  3. Inflict bodily harm or terrorize the victim or another targeted person; or
  4. Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

The following lists examples of conduct that could result in arrest and a charge for kidnapping in Florida:

  • A stranger offers a child walking home from school candy if they get into their vehicle, and even when they refused, the stranger forcibly takes the child into their custody without the child’s knowledge or consent;
  • A parent who is in a custody battle with the co-parent takes the child shared between them, despite not having the legal ability to do so; or
  • A former spouse kidnaps their ex-partner during a domestic violence incident and keeps them in a secret, confined space until they agree to get back together with them.

False Imprisonment is defined under Florida Statute Section 787.02 as the act of any person who forcibly, by threat, secretly confines, abducts, imprisons, or restrains another person without their consent or lawful authority.

The following lists examples of conduct that could result in arrest and a charge for false imprisonment in Florida:

  • A person physically restrains another person by tying them up, locking them in a room, or preventing their exit;
  • A person threatens physical harm to another person if they leave;
  • A person is deceptive in confining another person by falsely impersonating a police officer or making up false laws to prevent the victim from leaving;
  • A person is arrested without a warrant or probable cause and is held against their will unlawfully; or
  • A person is restrained due to false medical imprisonment where a doctor or person claiming to be a health care professional claims a victim has a medical condition preventing them from leaving.

Aggravating Circumstances of a Kidnapping / False Imprisonment Charge

For both kidnapping and false imprisonment charges in Florida, there are aggravating circumstances that would result in more severe penalties. Aggravating circumstances occur if the victim involved in either crime was a child under the age of 13 and the defendant was also accused of committing one or more of the following:

  • Aggravated child abuse;
  • Sexual battery against the child;
  • Lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, conduct, or exhibition;
  • Procurement of the child for prostitution, or forcing, compelling, or coercing the child to become a prostitute;
  • Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited; or
  • A human trafficking violation.

Penalties for Kidnapping and False Imprisonment

Whether you are accused of kidnapping or false imprisonment, you should be aware of the penalties against you if the State secures a conviction. Both crimes are classified as felony offenses.

A person charged with kidnapping faces a first-degree felony. If convicted, the defendant faces:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines; and
  • Up to 30 years in prison.

A person charged with kidnapping with aggravating circumstances faces a life felony. If convicted, the defendant faces:

  • Up to $15,000 in fines; and
  • Up to life imprisonment.

A person charged with false imprisonment faces a third-degree felony. If convicted, the defendant faces:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five (5) years in prison.

A person charged with false imprisonment with aggravating circumstances faces a first-degree felony.

Important: If you are convicted of a kidnapping or false imprisonment offense that involved any sexually explicit nature involving a child, you could be required to register as a Sex Offender in Florida. Keep in mind that this registration can have additional rules and penalties that follow you even after the fines and incarceration period has been fulfilled.

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Leon County Offenses Related to Kidnapping / False Imprisonment

The following provides information on offenses that can be related to false imprisonment or kidnapping charges in Florida:

  • Luring or Enticing a Child – Florida Statute Section 025 makes it a first-degree misdemeanor for a person 18 years or older to intentionally lure or entice, or attempt to lure or entice, a child under the age of 12 into a structure, dwelling, or conveyance for an unlawful purpose. Previous convictions can result in a third-degree felony.
  • Interference with Custody – Florida Statute Section 03 makes it a third-degree felony for a person without lawful authority to knowingly or recklessly take, entice, or aids, abets, hires, or otherwise procures another person to take a minor or incompetent person from the custody of their parent, guardian, public agency, or any other lawful custodian. It is also a third-degree felony if the alleged offender takes similar actions with malicious intent to deprive another person of their right to custody of the minor or incompetent person when there is no court order determining rights to custody or visitation.
  • Removing Minors from the State or Concealing Minors Contrary to State Agency Order or Court Order – Florida Statute Section 04 makes it a third-degree felony for a person to lead, take, entice, or remove a minor beyond state limits, or to conceal the location of a minor either:
    • In violation of a court order with personal knowledge of the order;
    • Without the permission of the court in which the action or proceeding is pending;
    • After having received actual or constructive notice of an investigation, action, or proceeding concerning alleged abuse or neglect of such minor and without the permission of the state agency or court in which the investigation, action, or proceeding is pending; or
    • Having failed to produce a minor in the court or deliver a minor to the person designated by the court after having carried any minor beyond state limits whose custody is involved in any action or proceeding pending in Florida.

If you have been accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any related offense in Florida, consider hiring a defense attorney in Leon County who can represent your case and protect your rights.

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Defenses to Kidnapping / False Imprisonment in Florida

Depending on the specifics involved in these cases, there may be affirmative defenses that justify or excuse an alleged offender’s actions. In other cases, there may be weaknesses in the prosecution’s case that can be attacked. Some examples of both include, but are not limited to:

  • Alleged offender committed act under coercion, compulsion, or duress;
  • Alleged offender reasonably believed his or her actions were necessary to prevent alleged victim from being seriously injured;
  • Alleged victim consented to alleged false imprisonment or kidnapping;
  • False allegations;
  • Lack of evidence;
  • Mistaken identity; or
  • No criminal intent.

While each individual case will differ in its details and therefore potential defense strategies, it is important that you prioritize yourself and your future by hiring a defense attorney with Pumphrey Law.

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Find a Lawyer for Kidnapping and False Imprisonment in Tallahassee

If you have been accused of confining another person against their will, you should not delay in reaching out to get the help of a knowledgeable Tallahassee criminal defense attorney. Both offenses are considered felonies, meaning any conviction will result in lasting consequences. If there are any allegations of aggravating circumstances, the outcome can be even worse. You will want the help of an attorney experienced with these crimes. If you hire Pumphrey Law, we can explain the nuanced legal process and help defend you from conviction.

Pumphrey Law represents clients in Tallahassee and the surrounding Northern Florida area, including Blountstown, Bonifay, Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Freeport, Mary Esther, Niceville, Port St. Joe, and Wewahitchka.

Pumphrey Law Firm is committed to getting the most favorable outcome to these types of cases, and we will fight to have the charges against you either reduced or dismissed. Call (850) 681-7777 now to set up a free legal consultation that will allow our firm to review your case and answer all of your questions.


Page Updated March 6, 2024

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