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False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is said to be committed when a person is subject to complete deprivation of his or her liberty for any period of time without justification.  The very fact that there was a restraint on the person’s liberty without his /her knowledge is sufficient for the offense of false imprisonment to be committed.

A person who falsely or recklessly imprisons another must have an intention to confine the other within the boundaries fixed by the actor.  Such person being imprisoned must be completely restrained and have no way of escaping.  The confined person must be aware of the fact that s/he is wrongfully confined or be harmed by it.  In order to prove a claim of false imprisonment, the plaintiff must prove that s/he was willfully detained without consent and that such detention was not authorized by law.  False imprisonment often involves the use of physical force, although such force is not required.  The threat of force or arrest, or a belief on the part of the person being restrained that force will be used, is sufficient to constitute the crime of false imprisonment.

False arrest is a kind of false imprisonment in which the individual being held mistakenly believes that the person restraining him or her is legally authorized to do so.  A law enforcement officer will not be liable for false arrest where s/he has probable cause for an arrest and is capable of showing that his or her actions were supported by probable cause.  Probable cause exists when the facts and the circumstances at the time of arrest lead the officer to reasonably believe that a crime has been committed and that the person arrested committed the crime.

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