What is a false imprisonment charge?

False imprisonment occurs when a person is held somewhere against their will without consent and without any legal or moral justification. Some examples of false imprisonment include:

  • A bank robber taking bank customers hostage and not allowing them to leave the building
  • A home robber takes hostages and ties them up to stop them from escaping or contacting the authorities

Another example of false imprisonment is if a business owner, say the owner of restaurant, refuses to let a customer leave as they are disputing the bill. It’s important to keep in mind that this is completely illegal, and they are risking a false imprisonment charge if they are reported to the authorities.

False imprisonment can also be called wrongful arrest, unlawful arrest or false arrest. This crime often occurs when a police officer detains someone against their will, and with no true lawful reason to do so. In these cases, it is possible to take action against the police, and claim compensation for your ordeal.

How do I prove false imprisonment?

To obtain a conviction for false imprisonment, you must be able to prove two things. These are:

  • That you were detained against your will
  • That there was no lawful justification for being detained

It’s important to keep in mind that the actual place where you were detained is irrelevant. It can be anywhere – even your own home. In cases where it is a police officer who is guilty of false imprisonment, even the words “you’re under arrest” can be enough to count as detaining the victim.

You don’t even necessarily have to be placed under false arrest. You may have been falsely told that you must remain where you are in order to assist the police with their enquiries. Remember: there is no minimum time limit for false imprisonment, you may have been falsely imprisoned for ten minutes or ten hours, you may still have a claim.

Once you have managed to prove that you were detained, the burden of proof then shifts to the police to see if they had lawful reason to detain you. To give you a better idea of whether an arrest is lawful, here are some factors of lawful arrest by the police:

  • The officer/s had reason to suspect that the arrestee was involved in a criminal offence.
  • The suspicion was held under reasonable grounds.
  • The arrest was necessary to the investigation of the criminal offence.
  • The officer/s informed the arrestee of the lawful grounds of the arrest.

If you feel that you have been the victim of false imprisonment, we can help. Our dedicated team of police claims solicitors are experienced in dealing with these types of cases, and can get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, confidential discussion about your case.

Posted on: Tue, 30 May 2017
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