Facing False Imprisonment Charges With a Spouse
In the midst of a fight with a spouse, you may say and do things that you regret later. In the meantime, you may face criminal charges linked to domestic violence. One crime associated with domestic violence is false imprisonment. If you are facing charges of false imprisonment, keep reading to learn more about North Carolina’s laws.
What Is False Imprisonment of a Spouse?
In North Carolina, false imprisonment is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The law associates the crime with the intentional, nonconsensual, and unlawful restraining of another person. While many people consider false imprisonment to involve tying someone up or locking somebody inside a room, it does not always happen this way.
In extreme cases, one spouse might make physical threats to intimidate the other spouse from leaving, perhaps using a weapon as a method of persuasion. But a potential false imprisonment scenario can also be as simple as one spouse blocking a doorway and not allowing the other person to get through.
Additionally, the imprisonment does not have to be successful for any specific length of time. For instance, if your spouse is able to push past you in the doorway eventually, you could still face charges of false imprisonment. Due to the diverse scenarios false imprisonment charges are meant to address, it may come as a surprise that your behavior has merited such a charge.
What Are the Penalties for False Imprisonment of a Spouse?
North Carolina judges determine the penalties for domestic violence convictions on a case-by-case basis. Some people may serve time in prison whereas others are on probation or attend drug diversion classes.
For a Class 1 misdemeanor, you could face up to 120 days in jail, but the exact length of time depends on the individual’s criminal history. The judge can also require the defendant to pay a fine, attend classes, and participate in community service.
False imprisonment charges are unfortunately often also accompanied by kidnapping charges. Kidnapping, which involves restraining, confining, or moving another person without their consent, is a felony and comes with harsher punishments as a result.
What Happens If You Are Charged with False Imprisonment?
If you are accused of false imprisonment of your spouse, you will likely be arrested if authorities have reasonable suspicion a crime was committed. You will attend an arraignment during which the judge will read the charges against you. You can insert a plea, after which the judge will determine if you can be released on bail.
Your release may have restrictions on it. For example, the judge may enforce a rule that you must stay away from your spouse until your trial or sentencing. Breaking these rules means you could spend the time until your next hearing behind bars.
In the meantime, do not discuss your case with anybody, even your spouse or other loved ones. You should only discuss your case with your criminal defense attorney.
What Should You Do to Fight False Imprisonment Charges?
The first thing you need to do is hire a criminal defense attorney to manage your case. An attorney helps you establish a strong defense to minimize the penalties associated with your case or, if possible, helps you be found not guilty.
Perhaps the other party is lying or is mistaken about what happened, or you had to act quickly in order to defend yourself or somebody else. Depending on the situation, you may have only restrained somebody because they were posing a danger to you. An attorney can help you make these instances into credible defenses against your false imprisonment charge.
If you are involved or suspect you may soon be involved in a case involving false imprisonment charges, you do have options. Carl L. Britt, Jr. is an attorney offering criminal defense services in Cumberland County. Call us today to set up a consultation with our team. We can help you through this difficult process.