Many people have heard of the term false imprisonment, but are often unaware of what it actually means. Any time a person is held against his or her will, it may be considered false imprisonment, which may be grounds for both civil and criminal action. In most cases, it is not specifically a criminal offense to detain someone against their will, unless it involves a more serious crime such as kidnapping or impersonating a police officer. However, regardless of this, there still may be civil penalties for doing so.
Criteria for False Imprisonment
There are three major criteria for a false imprisonment claim to be valid.
- Firstly, the defendant must have intended, either negligently, recklessly, or deliberately, to imprison the plaintiff. If the imprisonment was accidental or out of the hands of the defendant, there can be no false imprisonment claim.
- Secondly, the plaintiff must have no way of reasonably escaping. For example, “imprisoning” someone in a room with an unlocked door would not constitute false imprisonment.
- Thirdly, the plaintiff must be aware of the fact that they have been imprisoned. If a person fell asleep, and the door to their room was locked from the outside, but was unlocked before they woke up, this would not constitute false imprisonment.
If you or someone you know has been falsely imprisoned by another individual, contact a Cincinnati personal injury lawyer at Stepleton Dugan, LLC today at 513-321-7733, and we will evaluate your case and provide you with the legal assistance you need.