Unlawful imprisonment is when one person illegally restrains another person. The restraint element of this crime can be satisfied physically, verbally or by using trickery or deceit to restrict the victim’s liberty. Unlawful imprisonment is included in the crime of kidnapping, but it is a lesser crime because the prosecution is not required to prove that the person charged intended to do anything but restrain the victim.
Unlawful imprisonment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. In any event, it is a more favorable charge to defendants than kidnapping, so defense attorneys many times try to have kidnapping charges reduced to unlawful imprisonment charges. Criminal defense attorneys succeed at having kidnapping charges reduced to unlawful imprisonment charges by successfully proving that the defendant lacked the requisite intent to commit further injustice to the victim.
Whether charged with unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping, Arizona defendants should never face their charges without legal counsel. A Mesa unlawful imprisonment attorney can help east valley defendants prepare their defense so they will receive the most favorable charges and lightest sentencing.