Charged with false imprisonment?
Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. to discuss your false imprisonment case. (414) 270-0202
Milwaukee criminal defense firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C. provides aggressive false imprisonment defense. This charge is a Class H felony, which carries with it a 6 year prison sentence and a $10,000.00 fine. Hiring a skilled top criminal defense lawyer is very important when facing serious criminal charges. Criminal defense lawyers Matthew R. Meyer and Benjamin T. Van Severen defend false imprisonment cases. Certainly we’ve successfully fought for hundreds of clients facing criminal convictions throughout Wisconsin.
What is false imprisonment?
False imprisonment is defined in section 940.30 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Specifically, the defendant commits false imprisonment when:
The defendant intentionally confined or restrained another person without that person’s consent and with knowledge that he has no lawful authority to do so.
The statute uses the words “confined or restrained” in defining the illegal conduct. Words, acts, or both constrain the victim. The reason for this is that “mere words could be sufficient if they actually impose a restraint upon the person to whom they are directed.” R. Perkings and R. Boyce, Criminal Law, 225 (3rd ed. 1982). In the situation where the defendant says “If you leave, I will kill you,” the government may attempt to charge false imprisonment. Physical restraint is not necessary. Certainly physically restraining the victim is enough for the government to allege the crime has been committed.
Genuine restraint or confinement is necessary to sustain a conviction, but that restraint or confinement need not occur in a jail or a prison. We point this out because the charge includes the word “imprisonment.” The actions could have happened anywhere the defendant was able to confine or restrain the victim. Basically, the use of physical force is not necessary, as the courts believe mere words can keep an individual restrained. False imprisonment can occur in the victim’s home, the defendant’s home, and without doubt anywhere else in Wisconsin.
What are the elements of the offense?
False imprisonment, like all other criminal offenses, has certain elements. Those elements needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Specifically, Wisconsin Jury Instruction 1275 explains those elements:
- The defendant confined or restrained the victim;
- The defendant confined or restrained the victim intentionally (requiring the mental purpose to confine or restrain);
- The victim was confined or restrained without her consent;
- The defendant had no lawful authority to confine or restrain the victim;
- The defendant knew that the victim did not consent and knew that he did not have lawful authority to confine or restrain the victim.
Wisconsin JI-Crim 1275 goes on to explain the meaning of “confined” or “restrained”: … If the defendant deprived the victim of freedom of movement, or compelled her to remain where she did not wish to remain, then victim was confined or restrained. Physical force isn’t a requirement. Words, acts, or both show confinement or restraint.