False Imprisonment Lawyers in Orlando, FL

FALSE IMPRISONMENT IN FLORIDA – An Insight by an Experienced Orlando Attorney

Introduction to Understanding False Imprisonment

In the realm of criminal law, false imprisonment stands as a stark violation of an individual’s personal liberty. Florida, like many other states, strictly addresses this offense, and it is rooted in the state’s commitment to protecting personal freedoms and rights of its residents. By understanding false imprisonment in a Florida context, one gains clarity on the nature of this crime and its potential repercussions. This article seeks to shed light on this complex legal topic, breaking down its foundational aspects and offering insights from an Orlando attorney’s vantage point.

False imprisonment often gets confused with kidnapping. However, while both involve unlawful confinement, kidnapping usually encompasses additional elements, like the intent to obtain ransom or to commit another crime. False imprisonment, on the other hand, is more about the act of confinement itself without any broader intent.

Florida’s legal framework views false imprisonment as a grave offense, indicative of the state’s emphasis on individual freedom. The state recognizes that while physical boundaries can easily define imprisonment, psychological barriers, like threats or intimidation, can be equally, if not more, debilitating. This broad understanding ensures that potential violators cannot exploit legal loopholes.

False imprisonment often gets confused with kidnapping. However, while both involve unlawful confinement, kidnapping usually encompasses additional elements, like the intent to obtain ransom or to commit another crime. False imprisonment, on the other hand, is more about the act of confinement itself without any broader intent.

If someone is found guilty of false imprisonment in Florida, they could face significant legal repercussions. Penalties can range from monetary fines to imprisonment, depending on the case’s details. Factors such as the victim’s age, the duration of confinement, and the presence of any aggravating circumstances can influence the severity of the punishment.

False imprisonment, by its very nature, stands as a stark reminder of the importance of personal freedoms. In Florida, the legal framework surrounding this offense is comprehensive, ensuring that individuals’ rights are robustly protected. Whether you’re an attorney, a concerned individual, or someone facing such charges, understanding the depths of false imprisonment in Florida is of paramount importance. It emphasizes not only the intricacies of the state’s legal system but also its commitment to upholding justice and human rights.

The Definition and Elements

Under Section 787.02 of the Florida Statutes, false imprisonment is defined by two primary elements:

  1. Unlawful Confinement: This is when one person confines, abducts, imprisons, or restrains another individual against the latter’s will. This can be achieved in various ways, such as:
    • By Force: Physically restraining or confining someone without their consent.
    • By Threat: Using intimidation or threats to make someone stay in a particular place.
    • In Secrecy: Deceptively or surreptitiously confining someone without their awareness or against their will.
  2. Absence of Lawful Authority: It’s essential to note that not all confinements are unlawful. There might be circumstances where a person has legal authority or justification to confine someone (for example, a lawful arrest by a police officer). However, in the absence of such lawful authority, any confinement can be considered false imprisonment.

Special Consideration – Children

Florida law provides special considerations when it comes to minors, especially those under 13 years of age. The rationale is that children, given their young age and vulnerability, may not fully comprehend the implications of certain situations, and therefore may not be in a position to give informed consent. As per the law:

  • Any confinement of a child under 13 years is presumed to be against the child’s will, regardless of whether the child “agrees” to it or not.
  • However, there’s an exception to this rule. If a parent or legal guardian has provided explicit consent for the confinement, it’s not deemed to be against the child’s will. This emphasizes the importance of parental rights and the protective nature of Florida’s legal framework when it comes to minors.

False imprisonment, as per Florida’s legal perspective, is a multifaceted issue. Whether you are an individual trying to understand your rights or someone facing allegations of false imprisonment, it’s imperative to grasp the nuances and subtleties of the law. Consulting with an experienced attorney, especially one familiar with Orlando’s legal landscape, can offer clarity and guidance in navigating these complexities.

What are the Penalties for False Imprisonment in Florida?

In Florida, false imprisonment is taken very seriously. Recognized as a third-degree felony, the repercussions for those found guilty can be severe, impacting both personal freedom and financial security. Let’s delve deeper into the potential penalties, their implications, and the context in which they are applied.


False imprisonment is categorized as a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. This classification is critical as it dictates the range of penalties that can be levied upon conviction.

Potential Penalties

If someone is found guilty of false imprisonment in Florida, they may face the following penalties:

  1. Prison or Probation: The convicted individual could face up to 5 years in prison. However, in some cases, a judge might decide to assign probation instead of, or in addition to, incarceration. Probation involves certain conditions that the convict must adhere to, and any violations can result in further consequences, including serving the remainder of the sentence in prison.
  2. Fine: Monetary repercussions can also be a significant concern for those convicted. The maximum fine for false imprisonment is up to $5,000. This financial burden can have long-term implications, especially when combined with potential legal fees and the societal costs of having a felony on one’s record.

Penalty Description
Prison or Probation Up to 5 years
Fine Up to $5,000

Severity Level and Points System

Florida uses a point-based system known as the Criminal Punishment Code to determine sentencing for various crimes. In the case of false imprisonment:

  • The crime carries a severity level of 6. Translated into points, this equals 36 points.
  • The higher the points, the more severe the potential penalties.

No Minimum Mandatory Sentence

When assessing the implications of scoring 36 points:

  • As long as the total points accrued due to the crime and other factors (like previous criminal records or the severity of the victim’s injuries) don’t exceed 44 points, there is no minimum mandatory sentence.
  • This provides judges with discretion. While they have the power to sentence the convict to the maximum prison time, they aren’t mandated to assign any prison time at all. This flexibility allows the court to take individual circumstances into account, considering factors like the presence of genuine remorse, the defendant’s personal history, or the specific context of the incident.

While false imprisonment in Florida carries serious potential penalties, it’s essential to understand the broader legal context. The state’s system provides a framework, but the individual circumstances of each case can significantly influence the final outcome. Whether facing such charges or seeking to understand the legal landscape, consulting with an experienced attorney can provide much-needed clarity and direction.

How Can I Fight a Charge of False Imprisonment in Florida?

Facing a charge of false imprisonment in Florida can be a harrowing experience, but the right knowledge and a well-prepared defense can significantly affect the case’s outcome. Let’s explore the available defense strategies in more depth, and understand how they can be applied effectively.

Motion to Suppress

This is a legal maneuver used to prevent certain pieces of evidence from being presented in court due to the manner in which they were obtained.

  • Underlying Principle: At the core of this defense is the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. If evidence was obtained without a proper warrant or in violation of your constitutional rights, it might be considered “tainted” and, thus, inadmissible in court.
  • Outcome: Successfully executing a motion to suppress can weaken the prosecution’s case, especially if key evidence gets excluded.

Alibi Defense

This defense is based on the argument that you could not have committed the alleged crime because you were at a different location.

  • Evidence Collection: The success of an alibi defense largely rests on providing concrete evidence. This could be in the form of surveillance footage, witness testimonies, or any record showing your whereabouts during the alleged incident.
  • Credibility: The alibi must be believable and supported by reliable evidence. Otherwise, the court might dismiss it.

It’s possible to argue that the alleged victim consented to the confinement or restraint. If you can prove that the confinement was agreed upon and wasn’t against the victim’s will, the charge could be dismissed.

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, the victim might have identified the wrong person as the perpetrator. If you can prove that you were not the person who committed the crime, the charges against you can be dropped.

Insufficient Evidence

The prosecution has the burden of proof. If they cannot provide enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges might be reduced or even dismissed.

The Role of Leppard Law

At Leppard Law, our commitment goes beyond just knowing the available defenses. Our seasoned attorneys understand the intricacies of the Florida legal system and can craft a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to your specific case. Whether you’re looking to challenge restraining orders, discredit improperly obtained evidence, or present a robust alibi, we’re here to stand with you every step of the way.

Being charged with false imprisonment in Florida is a severe legal challenge. However, with a solid understanding of the potential defenses and the assistance of expert legal counsel, one can navigate this legal maze more confidently. Always consult with experienced attorneys, like those at Leppard Law, to ensure you’re making informed decisions regarding your case.


1. What differentiates false imprisonment from kidnapping in Florida?

While both false imprisonment and kidnapping involve unlawful confinement, kidnapping typically includes additional malicious intentions such as demanding ransom or committing another crime. False imprisonment, on the other hand, mainly focuses on the act of confinement without broader motives.

2. Are there specific laws addressing false imprisonment of children?

Yes, Florida law provides special provisions for minors, especially those under 13. Any confinement of a child below this age is assumed to be against their will unless there’s explicit consent from a parent or legal guardian.

3. How does Florida’s point-based system impact false imprisonment penalties?

Florida employs a point-based system known as the Criminal Punishment Code. For false imprisonment, the severity level is 6, equating to 36 points. The overall points, considering other factors, determine the sentencing, with no minimum mandatory sentence if points are below 44.

Yes, defenses can range from challenging the manner in which evidence was obtained (motion to suppress) to arguing mistaken identity. The strategy depends on the specifics of each case.

5. Can an individual be charged with both false imprisonment and kidnapping in Florida?

Yes, it’s possible. If the act of unlawful confinement is paired with an additional intent like ransom demand, one can be charged with both false imprisonment and kidnapping.

6. How does the duration of confinement impact the severity of the punishment?

The length of confinement, especially if prolonged, can result in more severe penalties due to the increased psychological and physical impact on the victim.

7. If convicted, can one appeal a false imprisonment verdict in Florida?

Yes, a person convicted of false imprisonment can appeal the decision if they believe legal errors affected the trial’s outcome. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney experienced in appellate matters for this process.

Experience Unparalleled Expertise with Leppard Law

Facing a legal challenge? Don’t navigate it alone. With Leppard Law, you’re not just choosing any law firm; you’re opting for top-tier legal expertise. Here’s why we’re the top choice for so many:

  1. Unmatched Reputation: We boast an impressive tally of over 300+ 5-star Google Reviews. Our clientele’s feedback speaks volumes about our dedication to each case.
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  3. Local Acclaim: Ranked #1 in the “Top 10 Best Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Orlando, Florida” on Yelp from 2016-23, showcasing our unparalleled local recognition.
  4. Specialized Excellence: Featured in “3 Best DWI & DUI Lawyers in Orlando, FL” by Three Best Rated, highlighting our specialized expertise in defending DUI cases.
  5. Nationwide Recognition: Our firm’s growth and success haven’t gone unnoticed. We’ve been honored as the #5 “Fastest Growing Law Firm in the US” by Law Firm 500 in 2020. It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment and hard work.

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