False imprisonment occurs when an individual forcibly restrains another person without consent. A person can be criminally convicted or found civilly liable for prohibiting someone from leaving an area.

What is False Imprisonment in Civil Court?

The definition of false imprisonment is the same as the criminal definition. It is unlawful restraint done without consent of the person held. It can encompass prohibiting a person from moving around, but the does not require physical restraints to be used. 

Is False Arrest the Same as False Imprisonment?

No. False arrest is an arrest made without legal justification. Typically, no arrest is made during false imprisonment. The individual only needs to prohibit the person from leaving a certain area. 

Can I Receive a Money Judgment for being Held Without Consent?

Yes. The focus of the action is the plaintiff’s loss of freedom. In addition, the court takes into account:

  • The plaintiff’s fear and/or nervousness suffered regarding the detention
  • Unlawfulness of the restraint
  • Mental suffering
  • Physical suffering
  • Loss of time
  • Humiliation
  • Injury to reputation 

The individual would have to talk to an attorney to determine how much money would be awarded. 

Can I Receive Punitive Damages too? 

Yes. Punitive damages are awarded when the court wants to punish a person for the act committed.  Punitive damages can be awarded based on the defendant’s requisite mental state or malice. 

Can More than One Individual Be Liable for My False Imprisonment?

Yes. If more than one person committed the tort of false imprisonment, a plaintiff can sue the additional people. This includes those acting as instigators and/ or participants. However, those who have passive knowledge about the imprisonment aren’t generally liable. 

What Should I Do If I Was Held Without My Consent and Want to Sue?

You should contact a personal injury lawyer. The attorney can advise you of your rights and file a lawsuit on your behalf.