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What Is False Imprisonment?

False Imprisonment Charges in Wisconsin

False imprisonment is a criminal offense in Wisconsin. It is defined, under Wisconsin Statute § 940.30, as the intentional confinement or restraint of another person without their consent, and without legal justification. False imprisonment is often a component of other crimes such as kidnapping, assault, or domestic violence, and it can result in serious consequences if you are convicted. In this blog post, we'll discuss this offense in more detail as well as what you need to know if you're facing false imprisonment charges.

Elements of False Imprisonment

To prove false imprisonment in Wisconsin, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant intentionally confined or restrained the victim.
  • The victim did not consent to the confinement or restraint.
  • The confinement or restraint was without legal justification.

The defendant's intent is a crucial factor in a false imprisonment case. The prosecution must show that the defendant intended to confine or restrain the victim, such as by locking the victim in a room or physically blocking their exit. If the defendant did not intend to or actually confine or restrain the victim, there can be no false imprisonment.

Defenses to False Imprisonment

If you are accused of false imprisonment in Wisconsin, there are several defenses your attorney may raise on your behalf. These include:

  • Consent. If the victim consented to the confinement or restraint, there can be no false imprisonment. However, the consent must be freely given and not obtained through coercion or deception.
  • Legal justification. If the defendant had a legal right to confine or restrain the victim, such as a police officer making a lawful arrest, there can be no false imprisonment.
  • Mistaken identity. If the defendant mistakenly believed that the victim was someone else when they confined or restrained them, they may have a defense to false imprisonment.
  • Self-defense or defense of property. If you believed that the alleged victim was a threat to the safety of you or those on your property, you have the right to defend yourself, which can include detaining the person.
  • Rights as a parent. If the alleged false imprisonment involved your child, you do have the right to discipline your child, and your attorney may be able to build a case that the alleged imprisonment was simply you using your parental authority.

Penalties for False Imprisonment

False imprisonment in Wisconsin is a Class H felony, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. In addition to these criminal penalties, a conviction for false imprisonment can have serious collateral consequences, such as loss of employment or damage to your reputation.

Experienced & Reliable Representation

If you're facing false imprisonment charges in Wisconsin, it's crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and work to build a strong defense on your behalf. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal or obtain a dismissal of the charges.

At the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, our attorney is backed by over 20 years of legal experience. We are equipped to help clients develop an individualized defense strategy in false imprisonment cases, including cases that also involve kidnapping, domestic violence, stalking, battery, or other criminal offenses.

We offer free initial consultations. Call (414) 882-8382 to get started on your case today.