What is False Imprisonment?

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False imprisonment can be considered as a crime/felony or a tort, which involves the intentional restriction of the freedom of movement of another person. A tort can be defined as a wrongful civil action which can result in a physical or psychological harm to a person, or a damage to his property.

False imprisonment can be classified as an intentional tort because it doesn’t involve reckless behavior or negligence, but instead, is committed with intent. The formally accepted definition of false imprisonment as a tort involves the unlawful restraint of a person against his will and without any legal justifications. Once a person has been proven to be falsely imprisoned, he may be able to receive compensation for personal injury claims.

The unlawful restraint of another person can be proven by examining the facts and identifying whether some kind of force (locking or blocking the exits) or threat is used in the restraint of the accusing party. For instance, when a person is threatened that he will be harmed if he attempts to leave even if the exits are not locked, it can be considered as an unlawful restraint.

Moreover, it is also important to examine whether there is a legal justification behind the detention of the person. Some examples of legally justified detention include the lawful arrest performed by authorities, detention made by a shopkeeper for a reasonable length of time if he suspects that someone has stolen an item, as well as voluntary consent to the detention. When an individual agrees to be detained, such as when a person turned himself in as a suspect for a particular crime, he will not be able to claim that he has been falsely imprisoned even after he has been found not guilty. Lastly, it has been mentioned that false imprisonment can also be considered as a crime, but this depends on the laws of a certain jurisdiction.

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