False Imprisonment is Happening more often than You Think

False imprisonment is considered a “lesser included offense” of kidnapping; being such, it is considered unlawful because it involves the illegal detention of another individual even if the person guilty of the act has no actual serious or evil intent.

False imprisonment, otherwise known as false arrest or wrongful arrest, happens when a person takes into custody, or holds or keeps another individual against his/her will. This mistake usually happens when a person is falsely accused of a crime or when a person wrongfully brings criminal charges against another; it can be committed by private citizens or law enforces, particularly those who act outside or beyond the limits of their authority. Examples of false imprisonment include: a person holding another individual (against the latter’s will) inside any confined place; a worker or a security guard detaining someone accused of having committed a crime (despite lack of proof); and, detaining someone for personal gain, due to false information or simply due to pure malice.

As explained by The Benton Law Firm, false imprisonment occurs when one person prevents another person from leaving a specified area without their consent. This can happen for any length of time and is frequently seen in kidnapping cases. While falsely imprisoning someone is a criminal offense, it can additionally be brought in civil court to compensate the victim for any harm done by the perpetrator.

In the state of Texas, specifically, Texas law defines false imprisonment as meeting the following four criteria:

  • Nonconsensual confinement of victim
  • Confinement must be intentional
  • Victim has to have knowledge that they are imprisoned
  • Victim is not aware of any means of escape

False imprisonment cases are in the news more often than you think. Kidnapping claims are often highlighted in the news, but many do not involve only a few hours of imprisonment. However, these charges are often tied together with other criminal charges such as kidnapping, sexual assault, and unlawful restraint. You are able to pursue civil charges separately from any criminal charges brought against an attacker by proving the above elements in a civil court. A civil court additionally has a lower burden of proof to demonstrate that the attacker falsely imprisoned you. In criminal court, the prosecutor must prove that the attacker committed false imprisonment “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in civil court, the attorney for the victim must only prove that the attacker held someone against their will “by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Filing a claim for damages, however, will only be honored by a court if it can be proven that the victim is not guilty of whatever he or she has been accused of. If a person is guilty, though, but the procedure of his/her arrest was not done correctly, like when there was no just cause or if he/she was not read his/her Miranda Rights, then the court may have the criminal charge brought against him/her dismissed, but he/she will not be granted the right to file for damages.

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All You Need To Know About Malicious Prosecution

When a criminal or civil case is filed without sufficient basis or for the wrong purpose, the victim has the right to sue the defendant for malicious prosecution. The law prohibits any individual from abusing the legal process. According to the website of Clawson and Staubes, LLC Injury Group, being wrongfully accused of a crime can bring humiliation and embarrassment to the plaintiff.

In order to succeed with a malicious prosecution case, there are four elements that needs to be proven:

1. The original case was dismissed in the victim’s favor

The victim must prove to the court that the case was dismissed in his favor. If there was a plea deal or the victim pleaded to a lesser charge, a successful malicious prosecution case is unlikely. Likewise, if there was a not guilty verdict, proving malicious prosecution can be difficult.

2. Active involvement

For their case to be successful, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the prosecutor played an active role in the criminal case. For instance, it was the prosecutor who filed the charges, handled the case, and supervised the other attorneys handling the case.

3. Probable cause

The prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant had probable cause to commit a crime. If they are able to gather enough evidence to support reasonable suspicion for committing a crime or that it was more likely for the defendant to commit the crime, then there is probable cause.

4. Improper Purpose

To prove improper purpose, the plaintiff must be able to show that the prosecution did not make a mistake or gathered information but relied on that wrong information. Pursuing the case despite the lack of probable cause is a good example of improper purpose.

However, the problem with filing a malicious prosecution case is that the prosecutor is immuned from any liability in such types of cases. Such immunity is designed to protect prosecutors and other law enforcers so that they can do their jobs without having to defend themselves from allegations of malicious prosecution.

However, if it can be proven that the prosecutor acted beyond his authority by instigating or pursuing a criminal case, they may be exempted from such immunity.

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Defining Criminal Assault

Most people believe that assault is actual physical harm inflicted on someone, but in general just the threat of harm can be considered criminal assault. It is one of the few criminal offenses for which a person can be charged with little or no evidence. By definition, anyone can state that they had been threatened with bodily harm, and this could be grounds for an arrest of the accused. Criminal assault can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the incident. For example, simple assault such as swinging a bat but not making actual contact is a misdemeanor while aggravated assault, where actual physical harm occurs usually with a deadly weapon, is a felony.

State law dictates what constitutes criminal assault within its jurisdiction, so what may be criminal assault in one state may not be in another state. It is important when being accused of criminal assault that you retain a lawyer who has an in-depth knowledge of state law as well as an active practice in the jurisdiction. Criminal defense lawyers and state prosecutors in the same jurisdiction tend to know each other as well as other officers of the court, which can make your defense go more smoothly than if you bring in an outsider, no matter how experienced or knowledgeable.

The usual companion of assault is battery, which is the attempted or actual intentional or negligent infliction of bodily harm. In general, it follows that a charge of battery also includes assault, but a charge of assault does not necessarily include battery. Battery may also be classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

Because little evidence is required for a charge of assault, a conviction or dismissal boils down to how good the defense lawyer is in handling the case. It may not even get to a trial if the defense can provide a good reason for the case to be dismissed i.e. an alibi that proves the defendant could not possibly have been present at the time of the alleged incident to do the assault.

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