What is the Difference Between False Imprisonment And Kidnapping


What is the Difference Between Kidnapping and False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is when a person detains or confines another individual without legal justification. Unlike false imprisonment, the act of kidnapping involves deliberate intent to move or take away an individual against their will by use of intimidation or physical force.

A careful distinction must be made between false imprisonment and kidnapping charges because these can attract different penalties. An accomplished criminal defense lawyer will approach your case with a focus to have your charges minimized or dismissed altogether.

Now that we know the main difference between kidnapping and false imprisonment, we will dive deeper into each and what they mean.

False Imprisonment

When a person detains or confines another individual without legal justification and against their will, it may constitute false imprisonment under Missouri criminal laws. Intimidation or force does not necessarily have to be involved to make a charge of false imprisonment.

For instance, if you lock another person in a room while he or she is sleeping, and do not open it when they awaken, you could be charged with false imprisonment. More serious charges may be imposed if the victim was a child. You cannot afford to take the charge of false imprisonment lightly and should act swiftly to hire the best St. Louis criminal lawyer.


The key legal distinction from false imprisonment lies in the act of moving or taking away the other person and doing it in the commission of another crime.

For instance, if you suddenly grab another person walking by your car and pull him or her inside, you could be charged with kidnapping in Missouri. Compared to false imprisonment, kidnapping is a more serious charge and is usually considered a felony.

If aggravating circumstances are present (such as if you kidnapped a child or asked for ransom), the penalties will be more severe. Your best chance to protect your rights in these cases would be to hire the services of a respected and trusted criminal defense lawyer St Louis as soon as possible.

Civil Liability

One more distinction between false imprisonment and kidnapping is that in the case of false imprisonment, you could face both criminal and civil charges. What it means is that while the state will pursue criminal charges against you, the victim could file a legal claim for financial damages. The law in Missouri allows the victims of false imprisonment to claim compensation for any physical injury or mental anguish and suffering arising from the act.

Sometimes the charge of kidnapping may also include the act of false imprisonment. Clearly, you will have very little chance to defend yourself if you do not have the backing of a seasoned and resourceful St Louis criminal lawyer to build a solid defense against these charges.

False Arrest

In the case of false imprisonment, the person who commits the act will have no legal justification. But sometimes the accused person may claim there was a legal justification to detain another, which eventually turned out to be baseless or false. This would be seen as a false arrest under Missouri law. For example, an arrest by an individual posing as a law enforcement officer would be a false arrest. False imprisonment and false arrest are usually dealt with under the same criminal laws.

Choose a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer St Louis

Whether you have been criminally charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, or false arrest, the legal consequences can be severe. You should talk to our St. Louis criminal lawyers at Miller & Hine right away so that we can effectively fight your charges. Where necessary, we will go to trial and will leave no stone unturned to defend you. Call us at (314) 413-2053 to set up a free consultation or fill out this online contact form.