Florida Statute Section 787.01(1)(a) - Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Charges in Florida
Both kidnapping and false imprisonment are serious crimes under Florida law, and convicted individuals face decades of jail time, if not jail time for life. Kidnapping and false imprisonment are crimes that are often overcharged and are crimes that do not always fit the alleged conduct. A substantial number of kidnapping and false imprisonment cases in Florida involve individuals who are in a domestic relationship. In many cases, one person is alleging another has committed acts of domestic violence.
Kidnapping and false imprisonment involve conduct ranging in severity, however, a criminal charge does not tell anyone how severe the underlying conduct is. One alleged act of kidnapping or false imprisonment may involve violent behavior that lasts for hours or days, while another alleged act of kidnapping or false imprisonment may involve non-violent behavior that lasts ten or fifteen minutes. In either case, the resulting criminal charges are likely to be the same despite the severity of the alleged underlying behavior. As such, anyone facing kidnapping and/or false imprisonment charges in Florida must act quickly to retain a qualified Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Kidnapping Under Florida Law
Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 787.01(1)(a), kidnapping is defined as “forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent” to do one or more of the following:
- Hold the kidnapped person for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage;
- Commit or facilitate the commission of a felony; or
- Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the kidnapped victim or another person.
If the person being confined is under the age of thirteen (13), and parental consent to confine the child was not obtained, Florida law considers the confinement to be against the victim’s will.
If a person is found guilty of kidnapping – either by pleading guilty or being found guilty at trial – he or she commits a first-degree felony, which results in potential jail time of up to thirty (30) years or even life. Additionally, the convicted person faces a potential fine of up to $10,000.
If the victim of kidnapping is under the age of thirteen (13) and the accused person (1) commits aggravated child abuse, (2) commits sexual battery against the child, and/or (3) commits lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, or lewd or lascivious exhibition, the accused person faces a life felony, and conviction will result in a life prison term and a fine of up to $15,000.
False Imprisonment Under Florida Law
Under Florida Statute Section 781.02(1)(a), false imprisonment is defined as “forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.” If the person being confined is under the age of thirteen (13) and parental consent to confine the child was not obtained, Florida law considers the confinement to be against the victim’s will. A person who is convicted of false imprisonment in Florida faces a third-degree felony which results in jail time of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
If the victim of false imprisonment is under the age of thirteen (13) and the accused person commits one or more of the following additional offenses during the course of the false imprisonment, the accused person, if convicted, faces a life felony which would result in a life prison term and a fine of up to $15,000:
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Sexual battery against the child;
- Lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, or lewd or lascivious exhibition;
- Prostitution upon the child;
- Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited; and
- Human trafficking.
Because false imprisonment is often related to other crimes, many accused individuals often face multiple criminal charges within one proceeding.
Defending Against Kidnapping or False Imprisonment Charges in Florida – Why You Need a Lawyer
All criminal charges are serious – whether they are considered misdemeanors or felonies under Florida law. Additionally, depending on the facts underlying kidnapping or false imprisonment charges, accused persons could be facing federal criminal charges if any alleged conduct crossed state lines. For example, if a person is accused of kidnapping a person and takes that person to another state, federal law enforcement authorities may get involved. Simply put, a person’s constitutional rights and livelihood are on the line, and the consequences of being convicted of either kidnapping and/or false imprisonment under Florida law can be a guaranteed jail sentence without the assistance of the right attorney.
Every person accused of a crime is entitled to an attorney, and while there are many attorneys to choose from, anyone facing kidnapping and/or false imprisonment charges in Florida should find the best attorney out there for the job. An attorney who not only has successfully defended his/her clients but an attorney who also has a good relationship with judges and prosecutors can substantially help a client’s chances of minimizing the severity of the outcome associated with a kidnapping or false imprisonment conviction.
Once a person chooses an attorney, the right attorney will immediately review the police report and supporting documentation relied upon in pressing charges. Moreover, the right attorney will evaluate any additional evidence which may be available, including, among others, electronic communications (text messages, social media postings or messaging, voicemails, call logs, and emails), photographs, and witness testimony. The right attorney will develop a case that shows the prosecution cannot meet its burden, and failure to meet just one element of the crimes of kidnapping or false imprisonment should result in dismissal or acquittal at trial. While the best attorney out there cannot guarantee certain results, accused individuals who choose to work with a highly skilled and experienced attorney are helping themselves have a better chance of reaching a result that is fair given the facts of the case.
Protect Your Rights – Contact the Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today
If you or a loved one is facing kidnapping and/or false imprisonment charges in Florida, your legal rights are on the line, and you must act quickly to obtain legal representation. At Musca Law, our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers have more than 150 years of combined experience helping accused individuals fight serious criminal charges. Our lawyers possess the necessary skill, experience, reputation, track record of success, and dedication to help all clients have the best chance possible of reaching a result that is fair and reasonable. To discuss your legal situation with one of our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.