False Imprisonment occurs when a person is bound or detained for an unreasonable amount of time, or without justification or consent. This is very similar to Unlawful Detention, in which a police officer detains a person or persons without probable cause that a crime is being, has been, or is about to be committed. In addition, factors that come into play are the duration of the detention or imprisonment, whether or not excessive force was used to detain an individual, whether or not the individual was maliciously prosecuted or racially profiled, and if there was a threat to any party involved. This includes the police officers, the public, and the suspect themselves.
Be sure you understand, this does not mean law enforcement may not confront you. At any time, a police officer may stop and question you. This is what is called a consensual encounter. And again, if the authority has reason to believe you were in any way involved in a crime, they may detain you briefly. This detention allows the officers to identify you, and determine your involvement in the alleged crime.
In addition, there is a clause called Shopkeeper’s Privilege. Many jurisdictions recognize this privilege. It allows owners of stores to detain a suspect of theft or shoplifting for a reasonable amount of time. This privilege is in place mainly to return the stolen goods. The shopkeeper may not force a confession, but they may conduct a reasonable search of the items in that persons possession.
At The Norman Law Firm, we have experienced, dedicated lawyers who understand the complex rules behind false imprisonment and detention. We know when the police are at fault for false imprisonment, and we will fight to make sure the courts see it our way. Contact us today.