Are False Imprisonment and Kidnapping the Same?

Illegally holding someone against their will is a crime. The courts often see false imprisonment as kidnapping, which, if convicted, can have devastating results on the life of the one convicted as well as their family and others close to them. Criminal defense attorneys understand the depth of damage a conviction can mean for someone accused of false imprisonment or kidnapping and fight for those facing these charges. Suppose someone you know, or maybe you, is facing charges of this nature. In that case, it is absolutely essential to have a professional and experienced attorney fighting on your behalf in the San Diego Courts.

False Imprisonment

Something critically important to know is that false imprisonment does not have to include restraining another person. Simply making someone go or stay somewhere they do not want to can qualify as false imprisonment. Detaining another person and, of course, restraining someone physically fall under false imprisonment. In San Diego, many false imprisonment cases are part of domestic violence charges because the victim claims that their fear of leaving forced them to stay when they wanted to go. In these cases, or any false imprisonment cases, a legal criminal defense attorney is the only one who can help successfully navigate these complicated charges. There are many elements to false imprisonment cases. An experienced San Diego attorney knows how to analyze the prosecution's evidence, including any witness accounts or affidavits, and find supporting evidence on the defendant's behalf.

You may hear of those being held for shoplifting at malls and stores claiming they are being forcibly held. Still, because they are not being detained unlawfully, they will not be able to claim false imprisonment against the security guard or guards.


A critical difference between false imprisonment and kidnapping is that kidnapping must include transporting the victim a substantial distance using fear for forced compliance. False imprisonment does not require transporting the victim, but the prosecution must prove the victim was confined, restrained, or detained illegally. Human trafficking deprives people of their freedom in exchange for forced services or labor. The state of California is rigid on false imprisonment, kidnapping, and human trafficking crimes, so obtaining a professional and relentless criminal defense attorney can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

Penalties for False Imprisonment and Kidnapping

Misdemeanors and felonies can both be crippling. Misdemeanor charges typically hold lesser penalties and consequences. Still, a mark on a criminal record can create such overwhelming hurdles when seeking employment and housing that it seems the punishment goes well beyond jail time and payment of fines.

If there is no evidence of violence or threats of violence against the victim, these cases will likely end up as misdemeanor charges. If the prosecution proves violence or threats of violence, the result will probably be felony charges without an attorney working on the defendant's behalf. So many factors determine whether the charges will be misdemeanors or felonies. An experienced attorney can help sift through the evidence, fight against misdemeanor charges, and reduce sentencing if convicted. Considerations against the charges include the victim’s consent, false identity and allegations, and a citizen’s arrest. There are multiple angles that an experienced attorney will explore to ensure every opportunity is taken to fight the charges successfully. An attorney experienced in helping clients fight false imprisonment and kidnapping charges is essential. Only a professional and qualified criminal defense attorney can help. Incarceration can be anywhere from 3-12 years, depending on the charges and conviction. Jailtime at any length disrupts life's responsibilities, including work, family, and community. The reach of being convicted of a crime goes well beyond the defendant, and the most exceptional criminal defense attorneys understand this well. Unrelenting efforts to achieve the best possible outcome are what is necessary when facing false imprisonment and kidnapping charges in San Diego. Experience means court relationships, knowledge of judge’s decision histories, and how to ask for plea bargains and reduced charges and sentencing if convicted.

Many underestimate a conviction's impact, but it is not worth waiting and risking it. Instead, seeking a professional defense attorney provides peace of mind that nothing in your case will be missed that may help get charges reduced. Hiring a reputable and experienced San Diego attorney should be a priority for anyone facing these charges of false imprisonment, kidnapping, or human trafficking. To ensure the best possible outcome for a kidnapping or false imprisonment case, find an established and excellent attorney who can give a free consultation when you need it most. Established attorneys with experience fighting for clients facing these charges know the situation and how critical every day is. Time, knowledge, and expertise are of the essence, so find the best legal representation available in your area. If you are in San Diego, Joni Eisenstein is an excellent legal resource and has helped many clients fight these and other criminal charges.

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.