The criminal justice system is complicated. Authorities and prosecutors often use legal jargon when talking to people arrested for or charged with a crime. However, it can be challenging to understand what you are up against without a clear understanding of this jargon. Making statements without a clear understanding of what is happening or what a specific charge means can put you in a difficult position. You may even end up inadvertently incriminating yourself.
False imprisonment is one of those charges that can be confusing to understand. At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration, our highly-sought after Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys want to help you understand what false imprisonment means and how an attorney can help you navigate the complex Nevada criminal justice system.
Definition of False Imprisonment
False imprisonment can occur when an individual restrains or confines another person against their will, typically in a limited area. Nevada law defines false imprisonment as the unlawful violation of another person’s liberty through confinement or detention without any legal authority to do so. For example, locking an individual in a room against their will could result in a false imprisonment charge.
One of the exceptions to false imprisonment involves Nevada’s shopkeeper’s privilege. Retailers and shopkeepers can legally reasonably detain suspected shoplifters as they investigate the theft of items from the premises or until law enforcement officers arrive. Typically, retailers must display a notice on their property informing individuals that if there is reason to believe an individual took merchandise, they can detain a person to recover the stolen property or wait for a peace officer to arrive.
What Are the Nevada Penalties for False Imprisonment?
Typically, false imprisonment is a gross misdemeanor offense in Nevada. A conviction can result in a maximum fine of $2,000 and 364 days in jail. However, false imprisonment can be elevated to a category B felony if an individual uses a deadly weapon to detain another person, uses the other person as a human shield to avoid injury or arrest, or is an inmate. Conviction of a category B felony can lead to fines and one to 20 years in prison.
False imprisonment is a criminal offense in Nevada. A person convicted of false imprisonment may receive criminal penalties for their actions. However, ending a criminal trial does not necessarily mean the end of an individual’s legal problems. The alleged victim can also file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries and losses from the convicted party. Civil cases are separate from criminal cases. Instead of fines and jail time, an individual found liable in a civil suit may be financially responsible for compensating an alleged victim for their financial losses to make them whole again.
Potential Defense Strategies for a False Imprisonment Charge
The defense strategy you and your lawyer select will depend on the evidence in the case and the situation’s unique circumstances. There are ways to fight back against a false imprisonment charge. Sometimes, it may be practical to argue that you lawfully acted in self-defense, attempting to detain another individual because you feared for your life or safety.
Another defense tactic that may be applicable is arguing that the alleged victim consented to restrict their movement. That means you did not act unlawfully in restraining the person because they agreed to the action. You can also demonstrate that you were exercising your parental rights if the individual impacted was a minor at the time of the incident.
Shopkeepers and retailers accused of false imprisonment may also use Nevada’s shopkeeper’s privilege rules to show that they were within their rights to restrain an individual thought to have been shoplifting before they were suspected, caught, and detained.
An experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can review the specifics of your case and craft a strategy that factors in the unique circumstances that exist in your situation. There may be other defenses that apply to your case that only a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can identify.
Do You Need an Attorney to Handle a False Imprisonment Charge?
Yes. You need an attorney to fight against false imprisonment charges. Your best bet is to exercise your right to remain silent and request to speak with an attorney. An experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney knows what’s at stake and what you are against. A seasoned attorney can review your situation, determine whether law enforcement acted appropriately, and devise a defense strategy that offers you the best opportunity to secure a favorable outcome for your situation.
The issue with a false imprisonment charge is that some people mistakenly believe that such a charge is no big deal or that it is easy to talk their way out of the situation. Never attempt to talk your way out of a situation with the authorities or try to explain yourself. Don’t give law enforcement extra ammunition to use against you. Law enforcement wants to strengthen their case against you by using your words and explanations to your detriment. A criminal defense attorney can advocate for you, protect your rights, help you navigate the Nevada criminal justice system, and work to prevent you from being incarcerated.
What Is Incarceration?
In Nevada, as in other states, when a person is incarcerated, they’re in jail. Incarceration is one of the penalties associated with false imprisonment convictions. If the prosecution successfully proves that you falsely imprisoned someone, a sentence of incarceration will follow your conviction.
Contact an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Have you been charged with false imprisonment in Las Vegas? You need immediate legal representation to protect your rights, freedom, and reputation. At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration, our skilled criminal defense attorneys can review your situation and outline the defense strategies that best serve your case. In addition to our professional reputation, we are proud to be one of the first Spanish-speaking firms in the area.
Contact our Las Vegas office immediately to request a case evaluation. We want to help you move past this challenging time in your life in the least stressful manner possible.