False Imprisonment in South Jersey: What You need to Know and What You Can Do about It

False imprisonment, or false arrest, occurs when one party is restrained against his or her will. This is a major violation of civil liberties, and conviction of this crime carries heavy fines, probation time, and possibly 20 years in jail. Because of this, accusing someone of false imprisonment is a serious charge, and you should not take it lightly. You need to know what this accusation entails, whether the person you are accusing is a law enforcement officer or a private citizen.


What Constitutes False Imprisonment in South Jersey?


If you are accusing a private citizen, there are a few things you need to prove. First, you’ll need to establish the imprisonment as intentional and non-consensual. Confinement does not have to be physical. Threats of force, deception, and fear are also covered under false imprisonment in South Jersey. You must also show that the accused did not have lawful justification for restraining you, such as an attempt to stop a theft or to protect a family member.


If you are accusing a police officer, you must prove the accused had no authority to act given the situation or was not acting within reason. There is an important distinction you must make here. False Imprisonment is not an arrest made with bad evidence or false claims. If the officer was acting on evidence they believed to be reliable, they will have had reason to believe the arrest was within authority to make. But, if there was no evidence or insufficient evidence, there will have been no grounds for the arrest.


What Should I Do If I Feel I’m a Victim?


If you are a victim of false imprisonment, you can file a lawsuit against the offending party. Beside the possible jail time the accused faces, a successful lawsuit may yield monetary compensation for the loss of freedom, possible injury, or emotional duress.


False imprisonment lawsuits against police are disputed in federal district court and are often based on the allegation of a major civil rights violation. Here, it’s important to make the distinction of whether the officer was on duty at the time of the incident.


If the officer was not on duty, their actions are not official, and you won’t be able to sue for a civil rights violation. You’ll still be able to sue them as a private citizen, and these cases are often handled as kidnapping cases.


Most importantly, hiring a lawyer needs to be your top priority. You should do this before you speak to any officer. The specific laws for false imprisonment vary from state to state, so make sure to find a lawyer with specific experience in the laws of false imprisonment in South Jersey. If your rights have been violated, a professional, experienced lawyer will be your strongest ally.