What Is False Imprisonment?
According to NRS 200.460, unlawful restraint of another person’s liberty is known as false imprisonment and can take many forms; from restriction in a house, car, or any other environment without proper legal authorization. In essence, it is the act of depriving someone of their freedom through containment.
1. False imprisonment is an unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another, and consists in confinement or detention without sufficient legal authority.
2. A person convicted of false imprisonment shall pay all damages sustained by the person so imprisoned, and, except as otherwise provided in this section, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
3. Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to subsection 4, if the false imprisonment is committed:
(a) By a prisoner in a penal institution without a deadly weapon; or
(b) By any other person with the use of a deadly weapon,
the person convicted of such a false imprisonment is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years.
4. Unless a greater penalty is provided pursuant to subsection 5, if the false imprisonment is committed by using the person so imprisoned as a shield or to avoid arrest, the person convicted of such a false imprisonment is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 15 years.
5. If the false imprisonment is committed by a prisoner who is in lawful custody or confinement with the use of a deadly weapon, the person convicted of such a false imprisonment is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 20 years.
Statutory Elements Of False Imprisonment
According to Nevada’s Revised Statute NRS § 200.460, false imprisonment has the following components:
- An unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another; and
- Consists in confinement or detention;
- Without sufficient legal authority.
Under NRS § 200.460(2), if a person is found guilty of false imprisonment, they are obliged to compensate for all injury incurred by the victim due to the wrongful confinement. These charges can be especially serious and require an experienced false imprisonment defense attorney in your corner.
In Nevada, false imprisonment is frequently included in the charge of kidnapping. As a result, during a trial for kidnapping, the court will usually provide instructions to explain that false imprisonment can be seen as an offense with less serious repercussions than kidnapping itself.
Penalties For False Imprisonment Charges In Nevada
According to NRS § 200.460(3), false imprisonment is typically charged as a gross misdemeanor; however, stiffer penalties will apply if the crime of false imprisonment is committed under particular circumstances.
- By a prisoner in a penal institution without a deadly weapon; or
- By any other person with the use of a deadly weapon.
If the aggravated circumstances of NRS § 200.460(3) are fulfilled, then the offense is classified as a category B felony with potential sentencing from one to six years behind bars.
NRS § 200.460(4) provides increased punishments if a person uses another individual as a human shield while carrying out the offense of false imprisonment. If this occurs, they will be convicted of category B felony and could face up to 15 years in prison as per Nevada state law.
Under NRS § 200.460(5) if false imprisonment is committed “by a prisoner who is in the lawful custody or confinement with the use of a deadly weapon, the person convicted of such a false imprisonment is guilty of a category B felony….” Ultimately, false imprisonment charges are serious and can be punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison. If you’re facing charges for a violent crime in Nevada, contact our Las Vegas false imprisonment defense lawyer as soon as possible.
False Imprisonment In Civil Cases
In civil cases, if a defendant deliberately confines an individual within established limits and the person is made aware of this confinement and suffers damage as a result, then said defendant may be held liable for false imprisonment.
When it comes to wrongful imprisonment, one of the primary allegations is false arrest. It’s at this point that a claimant needs to prove that the actor acted without authority and carried out an unlawful arrest. As per court rulings, when someone’s freedom has been restricted because of a bogus detainment, they are said to have experienced false imprisonment due to a fake capture “under the probable imminence of force without any legal cause or justification.” Garton v. City of Reno, 102 Nev. 313, 314–15, 720 P.2d 1227, 1228 (1986).
A perfect example of this is in the Hernandez v. City of Reno case where the Nevada Supreme Court held that “an actor is subject to liability to another for false imprisonment ‘if (a) he acts intending to confine the other or a third person within boundaries fixed by the actor, and (b) his act directly or indirectly results in such a confinement of the other, and (c) the other is conscious of the confinement or is harmed by it.’ ”
False imprisonment does not occur when someone complies with verbal direction without the use of any force or threats. In Lerner Shops v. Marin, it was clarified that fear of potential job loss or prosecution for theft is insufficient as it cannot be considered a form of force or threat required to establish false imprisonment (NRS 200.460(1)). Roberts v. Coleman, 228 Or. 286, 365 P.2d 79 (1961).
Additionally, in Marschall v. City of Carson, 86 Nev. 107, 110, 464 P.2d 494, 497 (1970) the court stated that to prove false imprisonment charges, a plaintiff must demonstrate that he was “restrained of his liberty under the probable imminence of force without any legal cause or justification, therefore.”
Defenses To False Imprisonment Charges In Nevada
In order to battle false imprisonment charges, whether in Las Vegas or another area of Nevada, exploring some common defenses may be beneficial. Four potential tactics include:
- Shopkeeper’s privilege
- Parental rights
Nevada’s self-defense laws allow individuals to use reasonable force to protect themselves or others against imminent harm. This means that if someone threatens you with violence, you may use a proportionate amount of force to defend yourself.
The state of Nevada has a “Stand Your Ground” law, which means that you have no duty to retreat from a dangerous situation before using force in self-defense. However, this law does not give you the right to use excessive force in self-defense. The amount of force used must be reasonable and proportional to the threat faced.
It’s important to note that these laws can be complex and that the specific circumstances of each situation determine the legality of the use of self-defense. It’s always best to consult with a qualified Las Vegas false imprisonment defense attorney if you have questions about self-defense in Nevada.
The only way you can be found guilty of unlawful imprisonment is if the victim was confined against their will. If the alleged victim consented – even reluctantly – to being restrained, then there is no crime committed. To prove consent in court, video or audio recordings, written communications such as text messages and emails, and eyewitness testimonies are helpful pieces of evidence that can demonstrate agreement for confinement.
If merchants have good reason to suspect theft, they can take it upon themselves to detain the alleged culprit for a reasonable amount of time in order to investigate further. There is no criminal violation if appropriate grounds are present and shopkeepers choose to exercise their privilege as outlined in NRS 597.850. Gain more knowledge on this so-called “shopkeeper’s privilege” by researching NRS 200.460.
As a parent, you are well within your rights to implement disciplinary measures such as “grounding” or “timeouts” that limit the movements of your children. These methods won’t cause any physical harm or mental distress and can be used without fear of legal repercussions. If physical or mental harm can be proven, you may also face child abuse and neglect charges.