False imprisonment is a serious crime in Georgia, but there are defenses available.
When many people think of false imprisonment, they may think of being falsely accused of a crime. In Georgia, that is not what this term means, however. False imprisonment occurs when one person criminally restrains or confines another person against his or her will. When trying a case of false imprisonment, there are certain elements the prosecution must prove, and there are also defenses for those charged. An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer can help those charged determine which one is right for their case.
False Imprisonment Defined in Georgia
The Georgia statute found at O.C.G.A., Section 16-5-41 states that false imprisonment occurs when a person arrests, confines, or detains a person without their consent, and without the legal authority to do so. Although false imprisonment is a similar crime to kidnapping, the two offenses are different. Kidnapping typically involves moving the victim from one place to another. In Georgia, false imprisonment is considered a felony offense.
Elements to Prove in a False Imprisonment Case
To prove that a person was falsely imprisoned, the prosecution must prove that the person charged with a crime is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must show that the victim was held against their will with no means of escaping. An attorney will raise reasonable doubt to help those charged retain their freedom.
Penalties for False Imprisonment in Georgia
The potential sentence for a conviction of false imprisonment in Georgia is between one and 10 years in prison. The accused could also face high fines if convicted. These penalties increase when the alleged victim was under 14 years old and not the child of the accused. Penalties for the crime may also increase if the alleged victim was imprisoned for longer than 12 hours.
In addition to the steep criminal penalties associated with false imprisonment, victims may also file a lawsuit against the accused under Georgia’s Civil Code.
Defenses to False Imprisonment
Although facing charges of false imprisonment may seem hopeless, there are defenses available. These include:
- Lack of intent: To prove false imprisonment, the accused must have had clear intent to detain the victim.
- There was a reasonable way out: If there is a reasonable means of escape, but the victim did not use it, the accused cannot be convicted of false imprisonment.
- Consent: When a person agrees to be detained, the charges must be dropped.
- The victim was not confined: Although this may seem obvious, false imprisonment requires that a victim be actually confined. Simply not allowing a person to go where they want to go is not enough to prove false imprisonment.
A defense lawyer can help determine which defense is best for your case.
Facing Charges? Call Our Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers
False imprisonment charges carry heavy penalties for those convicted. If you have been charged, you need the help of our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam. Call us today at (404) 561-0202 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys and learn more about the best defense for your case.