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False Imprisonment Defense Strategies

4 Defense Strategies to Fight False Imprisonment Charges

Holding someone against their will in a confined space is considered false imprisonment and it is a felony in Wisconsin. Such charges are often added to other charges, such as burglary and robbery or even domestic disputes. In many cases, however, the imprisonment charges are unwarranted, added onto the other charges by prosecutors who are trying to gain leverage.   

Facing such charges is challenging, but not impossible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will try to get these charges dismissed or reduced to minimize fines and penalties. There are several defense strategies that may be employed.

Defining False Imprisonment

False Imprisonment falls under Wisconsin Statute 940.30, which states:

“Whoever intentionally confines or restrains another without the person’s consent and with knowledge that he or she has no lawful authority to do so is guilty of a Class H felony.”

A Wisconsin Class H felony is punishable by up to 6 years in prison, maximum fines of $10,000, or both.

They are one of the most common classes of felony in the state.

4 Defense Strategies to Fight the Charges

Getting the charges against you reduced or dropped is the goal of your criminal defense attorney. Depending on the case against you, an experienced defense attorney may build a defense using any one of the following arguments.

  1. There Was a Lack of Intention to Confine the Person. In some cases, it may be argued that it was not the accused’s intent to confine the other person. For example, it’s possible that the accused simply locked a door or shut a locked door, not knowing the other person was inside. It’s also possible for the confined person to think they were prohibited from leaving, when in reality, they were not prohibited. In that case, the situation would be a misunderstanding, not a crime.
  2. The Boundaries Imposed Did Not Confine the Person. If a person is locked in a space, but there is another reasonable exit available, the defense could argue that the person was not actually confined. In addition, if keys are accessible to the person locked in the room, then it could be argued that they had the means to escape. We also want to mention that boundaries for confinement do not have to be physical. It’s possible for the confined person to argue that they feared bodily harm if they tried to escape.
  3. The Confinement Was Made in Good Faith. Sometimes, it can be argued that the person was confined for a good reason. Perhaps they were displaying distressing or unusual behavior and the accused was simply trying to prevent the other person from harming him or herself or others, by preventing that person from leaving an area. As an example, a small business owner who confines a shoplifter until the police arrive should not have to face false imprisonment charges. Parents of minor children are another example. In most situations, parents are well within their parental rights to confine their children in a safe space for a reasonable amount of time.
  4. Lack of Evidence of Confinement. If you are accused of a crime, evidence must be presented to support the accusation. Without evidence, it becomes one person’s word against the other’s. A skilled attorney will be able to use this to your advantage and argue that the charge should be dropped.

Present Your Side of the Story With Help From an Eisenberg Law Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges of false imprisonment, you do not want to do it alone; there is too much at stake. Arrange a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney from Eisenberg Law Offices of Madison to learn more about the charges against you and what defense options are available. We will work hard on your behalf to have the charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced to lesser, non-felony charges.

Take control of your situation. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or to arrange a free case consultation today.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.