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West Palm Beach Kidnapping & False Imprisonment Lawyer

Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorney Handling Kidnapping and False Imprisonment Cases in Palm Beach County

Kidnapping and false imprisonment are very serious criminal offenses in the state of Florida. If you have been arrested for kidnapping or false imprisonment in Palm Beach County, you need to speak to an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. Your freedom is on the line. Depending on the nature of your charges, you could even face a maximum punishment of life in prison. There is no time to wait to take action.

Scott Berry is an experienced West Palm Beach kidnapping & false imprisonment lawyer representing defendants throughout Southeastern Florida. He is a board certified criminal defense specialist with more than 15 years of experience handling a broad range of criminal defense cases. If you or a loved one has been charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment in West Palm Beach, FL, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for free, fully private legal guidance.

Kidnapping Statute

Florida Statute, 787.01 Kidnapping

(1)(a) The term “kidnapping” means forcibly, secretly, or by threat confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to:

  1. Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.
  2. Commit or facilitate commission of any felony.
  3. Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person.
  4. Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.

(b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this subsection if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.

(2) A person who kidnaps a person is guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)(a) A person who commits the offense of kidnapping upon a child under the age of 13 and who, in the course of committing the offense, commits one or more of the following:

  1. Aggravated child abuse, as defined in s. 827.03;
  2. Sexual battery, as defined in chapter 794, against the child;
  3. Lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, or lewd or lascivious exhibition, in violation of s. 800. 04 or s. 847.0135(5);
  4. A violation of s. 796.03 or s. 796.04, relating to prostitution, upon the child; or
  5. Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited, in violation of s. 450.151,

commits a life felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(b) Pursuant to s. 775.021(4), nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the imposition of separate judgments and sentences for the life felony described in paragraph (a) and for each separate offense enumerated in subparagraphs (a)1.-5.

False Imprisonment

Florida Statute, 787.02 False Imprisonment

(1)(a) The term “false imprisonment” means forcibly, by threat, or secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another person without lawful authority and against her or his will.

(b) Confinement of a child under the age of 13 is against her or his will within the meaning of this section if such confinement is without the consent of her or his parent or legal guardian.

(2) A person who commits the offense of false imprisonment is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3)(a) A person who commits the offense of false imprisonment upon a child under the age of 13 and who, in the course of committing the offense, commits any offense enumerated in subparagraphs 1.-5., commits a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

  1. Aggravated child abuse, as defined in s. 827.03;
  2. Sexual battery, as defined in chapter 794, against the child;
  3. Lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, or lewd or lascivious exhibition, in violation of s. 800. 04 or s. 847.0135(5);
  4. A violation of s. 796.03 or s. 796.04, relating to prostitution, upon the child; or
  5. Exploitation of the child or allowing the child to be exploited, in violation of s. 450.151.

(b) Pursuant to s. 775.021(4), nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit the imposition of separate judgments and sentences for the first degree offense described in paragraph (a) and for each separate offense enumerated in subparagraphs (a)1.-5.

What is the Difference Between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment?

Many people incorrectly believe that kidnapping and false imprisonment are interchangeable terms. While kidnapping and false imprisonment are related crimes, there are some critically important and very subtle differences between these two charges. Notably, these charges also come with very different penalties.

False Imprisonment occurs when a person is forcibly or secretly confined, abducted, imprisoned or restrained without a legal reason against their will.  It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This is a serious offense, and anyone who has been charged with false imprisonment needs to seek professional legal representation.

Kidnappingis false imprisonment with the intent to commit or facilitate a felony. In other words, to prove kidnapping, prosecutors must prove all of the elements of false imprisonment as well as additional factors. Kidnapping is an extremely serious crime. In Florida, kidnapping is punishable by life in prison.

To make matters especially confusing, the line between these two offenses is often very subtle. However, law enforcement and prosecutors government will often choose to charge Kidnapping, when they can only prove false imprisonment. They may charge kidnapping when they cannot even prove false imprisonment. Overcharging is a major issue in kidnapping/false imprisonment cases. It is crucial that defendants are represented by a criminal defense lawyer who can protect them from invalid, unfair, or overly harsh charges.

Heightened Penalties for Cases Involving Children

Similar to many other criminal charges in Florida, kidnapping/false imprisonment charges can be upgraded under certain circumstances. Specifically, if the victim of the alleged violation is a child under the age of 13 andthe defendant commits aggravated child abuse or any of a number of sexual offenses against the child, the crime becomes aggravated and the degree of punishment increases.

This is especially notable, because kidnapping/false imprisonment is sometimes charged in cases that are intertwined with complex child custody or child visitation disputes. Unfortunately, some defendants face wholly inappropriate criminal charges over family disputes.

Any case involving a child must be taken very seriously. For false imprisonment, the crime becomes a felony of the first degree and is punishable by life in prison. If you have been charged with the false imprisonment or kidnapping of a child, you need to take immediate action to protect your legal rights and your freedom. Contact our experienced West Palm Beach kidnapping & false imprisonment lawyer today, we can help.

What Our West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do For You

 Every criminal case requires individualized service from a qualified professional. Scott Berry will give our case the full attention that it needs and deserves. When you work with our legal team, you can be sure that we will fight aggressively to protect your best interests. What exactly that entails will depend entirely on the specific circumstances of your case.

In some cases, our West Palm Beach criminal defense team will fight back aggressively on your behalf, protecting you against against charges that are wholly false. In other cases, we focus our defense strategy on limit the negative consequences that come with a conviction. Ultimately, what makes the most sense in your individual case will depend entirely on the allegations that have been raised against you and the specific facts surrounding your arrest.

Defenses Available in Kidnapping/False Imprisonment Cases

There are many different defenses that can be raised in kidnapping and false imprisonment cases. Indeed, there are even some affirmative defenses available under Florida law that can be used to excuse the alleged misconduct committed by the defendant. Some of the most common examples of kidnapping/false imprisonment defenses in Florida include the following:

  • The defendant committed the act under duress;
  • The defendant had a reasonable belief that they were protecting the health and safety of the victim;
  • The victim consented to the alleged false imprisonment/kidnapping, and thus no legal violation actually occurred;
  • There is a mistaken identity;
  • The defendant lacked criminal intent; and
  • The evidence presented does not support the charges.

One of the most important things that defendants need to remember is that the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Law enforcement and Florida prosecutors must be able to prove the charges that they are bringing beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is not there, a defendant should not be convicted. Our criminal defense is ready to protect your from invalid and unfair kidnapping/false imprisonment charges that are simply not supporting by the evidence.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Kidnapping Defense Lawyer Today

At Scott Berry Law, P.A., our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer has deep experience handling kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. If you or a family member was arrested for kidnapping, you need to take immediate action. From our office in West Palm Beach, we represent clients throughout South Florida, including in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Palm Springs, Riviera Beach, Belle Glade, and North Palm Beach.

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