August 1, 2018 By Paul Wallin

Will I Be Charged with False Imprisonment or Kidnapping?

Most people have heard of the crime of kidnapping under California Penal Code Section 207, but many people do not know that this crime can be committed when the victim is an adult. If that’s the case, then what makes kidnapping different from the crime of false imprisonment under Caifornia Penal Code Section 236? Let’s examine the differences between false imprisonment and kidnapping.

The Crime of Kidnapping (PC 207)

Under California Penal Code Section 207, the crime of kidnapping is when you take away or move a person to another part of the county or another county or state through the use of force or fear. In order to convict you of kidnapping, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You took, held or detained another person by using force or fear
  • You moved the other person or made the other person move a “substantial distance,” and
  • The other person did not consent to the movement

The key element in a kidnapping case is movement. You could be convicted of this crime if you move someone to another location against his or her will. The distance you moved the victim does not have to be far. For instance, if someone is walking outside your home and you move that person into your home, you could be convicted of kidnapping.

A kidnapping conviction carries up to eight years in state prison. It is also considered a violent felony and thus will count as a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes law.

The Crime of False Imprisonment (PC 236)

The crime of false imprisonment under California Penal Code Section 236 is the act of intentionally and unlawfully restraining, detaining or confining a person so that he or she stays or goes somewhere against his or her will.

The key difference between kidnapping and false imprisonment is that false imprisonment does not involve any force or fear. It could be something as simple as locking the door behind someone or blocking a doorway so that he or she cannot exit a room.

This crime is a wobbler offense in California, which means that the prosecution will evaluate the circumstances of the case and your prior criminal history to determine whether you will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Felony false imprisonment carries a sentence of up to three years in state prison. A misdemeanor false imprisonment conviction can be punished by up to 364 days in county jail.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

Freedom of movement is a basic human right. That is why crimes that impact a person’s freedom of movement – such as kidnapping and false imprisonment – are taken very seriously by prosecutors and the courts. If you are accused of one of these crimes, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment for more than 40 years. We have offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego so that we are available to you no matter where you work or live.

Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will get through this together.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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