NJ False Imprisonment Lawyer
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Represents Clients Charged with False Imprisonment
Accused of false imprisonment in New Jersey? You need to talk to an experienced NJ false imprisonment lawyer immediately. False imprisonment is a very serious criminal offense in New Jersey and carries severe penalties. In fact, a conviction can result in the offender being sentenced to significant prison time. Although false imprisonment charges often arise from mere threats to detain a person, the offense is considered a violent crime and, as such, is taken very seriously by NJ police, prosecutors, and judges. If you are involved in a heated or contentious argument with your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or some other person, it is possible that you could find yourself under arrest and facing false imprisonment charges.
Frank T. Luciano is an accomplished NJ criminal defense lawyer who defends clients against false imprisonment charges in Paramus, Hackensack, Elmwood Park, and throughout New Jersey. You can contact Mr. Luciano today to schedule a free consultation about your case.
N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 – New Jersey False Imprisonment Charges
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 of the New Jersey criminal code, a person is guilty of false imprisonment if they knowingly and unlawfully restrain another person so as to substantially interfere with the victim’s liberty. The statute is often interpreted quite broadly by NJ prosecutors so that just about any physical confrontation can result in a person being charged with false imprisonment. For example, many false imprisonment charges stem from domestic violence altercations in which one partner gets into an argument with the other partner. In fact, it is not always necessary for an altercation to get physical: a person can be charged with false imprisonment based on verbal threats that cause the victim to believe that they are not free to leave a physical location.
One of the crucial elements of a false imprisonment charge that a prosecutor must establish to secure a conviction is that the defendant “knowingly” restrained the victim. In other words, the prosecution must prove that you understood the consequences of your actions and knew that those actions would result in the victim being unable to leave a physical location or situation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible for a skilled criminal defense attorney to get your false imprisonment charges downgraded to a lesser offense or even dismissed entirely before trial.
How Severe Are the Penalties for a False Imprisonment Conviction in NJ?
The good news for anyone charged with false imprisonment in New Jersey is that the offense is not classified as a crime (i.e., felony). Although more serious criminal charges like kidnapping and criminal restraint can potentially be filed against a person who restrains someone else, the more common charge in these situations is for false imprisonment. This is an important distinction because both kidnapping and criminal restraint are crimes that can lead to prison time, while criminal restraint is considered a disorderly persons offense (i.e., misdemeanor) and often results in the offender receiving a probationary sentence and avoiding prison altogether.
Depending on the factual circumstances that gave rise to your false imprisonment charges, it might be possible for your attorney to help you stay out of jail. The harshest punishments for a New Jersey false imprisonment conviction include the following:
- Jail Time: up to six (6) months in county jail.
- Monetary Fine: up to $1,000.
- License Suspension: up to two (2) years if the offender used a motor vehicle during the offense.
- Forced Resignation: required to resign or forfeit public office.
- Restraining Order: a civil restraining order is possible if the charges stemmed from a domestic violence incident.
Additionally, it is important for anyone accused of false imprisonment to understand the consequences of a guilty plea or conviction. False imprisonment may not technically be considered a crime under NJ law, but it does carry a similar stigma to more serious violent crimes like kidnapping and criminal restraint. As such, having a conviction for false imprisonment on your permanent record could cause significant problems for you in the future when you apply for a job. One way to avoid the stigma of a false imprisonment arrest, charge, and conviction is to talk to an experienced attorney about clearing your record with an expungement.
Best Defenses Against False Imprisonment Charges in Paramus, NJ
There are certain defenses available to a defendant in a false imprisonment case, depending on the events and actions that led to the arrest in the first place. For instance, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 sets forth an affirmative defense to a charge of false imprisonment when the defendant restrained his or her minor child. In this type of situation, it may be possible to get the false imprisonment charges dismissed before trial so long as three factual circumstances exist:
- The victim was a child less than 18 years old.
- The defendant was a relative or legal guardian of the child.
- The defendant’s sole purpose in restraining the child was to assume control of that child.
Even if you are ultimately convicted of false imprisonment by a municipal court judge, it might still be possible to stay out of jail. That’s because the court is allowed to consider the nature of the unlawful imprisonment or restraint, including the length of time during which the defendant prohibited the victim from leaving. In many false imprisonment cases, a conviction does not necessarily result in the offender being sentenced to jail time.
New Jersey criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano is prepared to raise strong defenses on your behalf, whether it’s during pre-trial hearings or at trial. Mr. Luciano is a longtime member of multiple NJ criminal law associations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. To learn more about Mr. Luciano’s success stories in the courtroom, visit the Client Testimonials section on this website.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Fort Lee False Imprisonment Attorney Frank T. Luciano
If you’ve been charged with false imprisonment, you need a skilled attorney on your side. Frank T. Luciano is an NJ criminal defense attorney with decades of experience in courtrooms throughout New Jersey, including Bergen County, Passaic County, and Hudson County. Call or email Mr. Luciano now to discuss your false imprisonment charges.