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If you've been held against your will by a police officer or security guard, you may be wondering whether you can sue for false imprisonment.
False imprisonment generally means that someone is unlawfully restrained against her will by someone without legal authority, consent, or other justification. False imprisonment can be both a crime and a civil wrong.
In a civil case, a person claiming false imprisonment typically seeks to recover damages for the interference with her right to move freely.
Proving False Imprisonment
False imprisonment laws vary from state to state, but generally a plaintiff will have to show the following elements to prove a claim:
Notice that physical restraint is typically not required. Instead, false imprisonment often occurs through threats of force, false claims of authority, or actual barriers like a locked car or door.
Also, note that the victim usually must be cognizant that she is being held against her will. So if she sleeps through the ordeal and has no idea that she was ever detained, the victim may have no claim.
Not every case of involuntary confinement is false imprisonment. In many cases, a defendant may have reasonable grounds to justify the imprisonment. Some common defenses to false imprisonment can include:
If you have a question about a possible false imprisonment claim, you may want to talk to a personal injury attorney.