Felony False Imprisonment

Felony False Imprisonment

When committed through using “violence, menace, fraud, or deceit” false imprisonment is a felony. If convicted the sentence is determined under section 1170(h) of the California Penal Code. 1

When committed against an elder or dependent adult the sentence is 2, 3, or 4 years prison. 2

False imprisonment if committed while using a person as a hostage, and where the act substantially increases the risk of injury, it becomes is a felony with a sentence determined under section 1170(h) of the Penal Code, or under section 210.5 with a prison sentence of 3,5, or 8 years.

False imprisonment is a felony if it involves human trafficking; human trafficking is when a person deprives another of personal liberty, or to force another into work against their will, intending to aid in a felony violation of certain specified is guilty of human trafficking. Those felonies are Penal Code sections,

  • 266 (seduction for prostitution),
  • 266h (pimping),
  • 266i (pandering),
  • 266j (procurement of child under age 16 for lewd or lascivious acts)’
  • 267 (abduction for prostitution),
  • 311.1 (sale, distribution, or possession of obscene material depicting minor),
  • 311.2 (sale, distribution, or possession of obscene material depicting minor—not for commercial consideration),
  • 311.3 (sexual exploitation of child),
  • 311.4 (employment or use of minor to perform obscene acts),
  • 311.5 (advertising or otherwise promoting the sale, distribution, or exhibition obscene material),
  • 311.6 (participating in or presenting obscene live conduct),
  • 518 (extortion)
  • A person may also restrict another’s liberty through fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat. 3

Additionally a person who causes a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, or attempts to do so, intending to violate any of the listed felonies is guilty of human trafficking.4 The totality of the circumstances, including the victim's age and relationship to the perpetrator, must be considered in determining whether a minor was caused to engage in a commercial sex act. 5

Neither consent nor a mistake as to the age of a victim of human trafficking is a defense to prosecution for human trafficking. 6

Section 236.2 of the Penal Code, requires law enforcement to use due diligence to identify victims of human trafficking, irrespective of race, ethnic background, or citizenship. When a person is identified as having been deprived of personal liberty; is suspected of lewd conduct in public or prostitution; or is a victim of domestic violence or rape, these factors may be indicators of human trafficking:

  • A person demonstrates evidence of poor care, including trauma, fatigue, or injury.
  • A person is withdrawn, afraid to talk, or is being censored by another.
  • A person lacks freedom of movement.
  • A person lives and works at the same place.
  • A person owes a debt to his or her employer.
  • A person is restricted contact through security measures.
  • A person’s personal identification such as government issued identification or immigration documents are withheld from their control.

If convicted the sentence is prison for 5, 8, or 12 years; if the victim was under age 18 the sentence is prison for 8, 14, or 20 years.7 If the offense involves force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or another, by imprisonment in the state prison for 15 years. 8

1 Section 237(a) of the California Penal Code
2 Sections 237(b), 368(f); of the California Penal Code
3 Section 236.1(d)(1) of the California Penal Code
4 Section 236.1(c) of the California Penal Code
5 Section 236.1(d) of the California Penal Code
6 Sections 236.1(e), 236.1(f) of the California Penal Code
7 Sections 236.1 of the California Penal Code
8 Section 236.1(c) of the California Penal Code