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Unlawful Imprisonment In The First Degree

Detaining someone without a court order or against their will is known as unlawful imprisonment, also referred to as false imprisonment. When one person prevents another from leaving a vehicle, room, building, or another location, it’s considered to be “unlawful imprisonment”.

The New York Penal Law distinguishes between two categories of unlawful imprisonment. The definition of unlawful restraint of another person is unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. If you unlawfully restrain someone in a way that puts them at risk of serious physical harm, you will be charged with the more serious crime of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree under New York Penal Law 135.10.

New York Unlawful Imprisonment In The First Degree Attorney

If you have been accused of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree, contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. Garden City criminal defense lawyer Stephanie Selloni at Law Office of Stephanie Selloni is reputable in the New York area for her excellent legal service. She has represented numerous people of domestic violence offenses and can assist you too.

To schedule your first consultation, call (516) 972-1212 today. The Law Office of Stephanie Selloni represents clients from Garden City, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, or anywhere else in Nassau County or Suffolk County.

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There is a crucial component that all unlawful imprisonment offenses have, regardless of whether they are first or second-degree or in the context of domestic violence or not. According to Penal Law 135.00(1), the phrase “restrain” generally refers to restricting someone’s movement with malicious purpose and against the law. This limitation must significantly restrict the person’s freedom by imprisoning them or transferring them from one location to another. With this description in mind, it becomes clear that while the two offenses may have some things in common, they also differ significantly.

If the victim is restrained but not at risk of injury – the crime is considered a second-degree offense. When the victim is restrained and there’s a risk of serious injury, it’s a first-degree felony offense punishable by years in prison.

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First Degree Vs. Second Degree Unlawful Imprisonment

Tying someone to a chair or holding a door shut while a person is in a closet is considered a second-degree offense, but the felony “version” would be leaving the victim in a dangerous location where they could perish by falling to their death or drowning in a pool.

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Customers are yelled at to get on the ground by an armed bank robber who threatens to shoot them if they try to flee. They are being detained against their will, knowing that if they attempt to escape, they could be killed or suffer severe physical injury. Additional examples include:

  • A person who, without that person’s consent, locks another individual in a room.
  • A person, without the other person’s knowledge, catches them and prevents them from escaping.
  • A store owner or security guard arbitrarily holds someone back because of how they appear.
  • An employer keeps someone in custody for too long to question them about potential theft.
  • A nursing home worker administers medication to a patient without authorization while putting them in danger verbally or physically.

Examples of situations that typically aren’t considered unlawful imprisonment:

  • An allegation someone was wrongfully jailed just because they were cleared of a crime.
  • A store employee stops a customer for a reasonable time to interview them and has probable grounds to believe that they did something suspicious.
  • A person closes the front door and requests that the guest stays inside, but they are aware that a side door is open.

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Offenses Related To First-Degree Unlawful Imprisonment

Some related offenses include:

  • Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree;
  • Kidnapping in the second degree; and
  • Kidnapping in the first degree

In New York, the line between unlawful imprisonment and kidnapping is extremely thin.

While unlawful imprisonment isn’t the same as kidnapping or custodial interference, both offenses can occasionally be mixed up. Orders of protection and restraining orders are also commonplace, even though convictions can all have variations of the same consequences, such as imprisonment, loss of licensing and certifications, and revocation of a legal status related to immigration.

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Sentencing For First-Degree Unlawful Imprisonment

The maximum term that may be imposed for first-degree unlawful imprisonment is 4 years in prison. If someone has no prior record, the court may decide to sentence the defendant to a 5-year probationary period rather than to prison. In addition, they may be required to pay the victim’s restitution and a fine.

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Possible Defenses In A First-Degree Unlawful Imprisonment Case

If the victim restrained was not truly bound or unable to flee, this might be a possible defense. For example, a defendant may have a strong defense against a charge of unlawful imprisonment if they locked someone in a small room that was packed with boxes and other goods, but the room did contain an unlocked window hidden behind some of the boxes.

An additional defense would be to demonstrate that the victim was not at risk of suffering a severe physical injury. For instance, someone might be able to defend themselves against the charge if they pointed a fake pistol at the person in question to stop them from leaving.

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Additional Resources

New York State Unified Court System – Follow the link provided to view a PDF of Penal Law 135.10: Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree. The document explains the law and provides the elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable double for a defendant to be found guilty.

New York State Senate: Offenses – Click the link to view the legislation section provides complete details on Section 135.05  Unlawful Imprisonment and related offenses, like kidnapping.

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Garden City Unlawful Imprisonment In The First Degree Lawyer | Nassau County, NY

If you were arrested for unlawful imprisonment in the first degree in NY, criminal defense lawyer Stephanie Selloni at Law Office of Stephanie Selloni is prepared to fight for you. She is well versed in domestic violence laws and will use her knowledge and experience to thoroughly prepare your defense.

The Law Office of Stephanie Selloni represents Long Island clients in Garden City, Riverstead, Mineola, and other communities across Nassau and Suffolk County. Call (516) 972-1212 to schedule a free consultation with Law Office of Stephanie Selloni today.

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