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Unlawful Imprisonment

Under New York law, the crime of unlawful imprisonment can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. The term "unlawful imprisonment" is often called false imprisonment in other jurisdictions. Under the misdemeanor version, lawful imprisonment in the second degree is a a Class "A" misdemeanor under New York Penal Law 135.05. Under the felony version, lawful imprisonment in the first degree is a Class "E" felony under New York Penal Law 135.10.

NY Unlawful Imprisonment Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with the criminal offense of unlawful imprisonment then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Rochelle Berliner. Obtaining an attorney as early in the process as possible is often the key to obtaining the best result. Call today to speak directly with Rochelle Berliner about the criminal charge and possible defenses under the laws of the State of New York. Rochelle Berliner represents clients on the charge of unlawful imprisonment throughout New York City including Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Manhattan.


Unlawful Imprisonment in NY Information Center


Misdemeanor Charge of Unlawful Imprisonment

Unlawful Imprisonment in the second degree is a Class "A" misdemeanor under New York Penal Law 135.05. The statute which become effective on September 1, 1967, penalizes the restraint of another person. Under the unlawful imprisonment statute, the term "restrain" is defined to mean the act of:

  • restricting a person's movements intentionally and unlawfully;
  • the act of restraint must be committed without consent and with knowledge that the restriction is unlawful;
  • the act must be committed in such manner as to interfere substantially with his or her liberty by moving him or her from one place to another, or
  • by confining him or her either in the place where the restriction commences or in a place to which he or she has been moved.

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Definitions of Terms in the Unlawful Imprisonment Statute

In the context of unlawful imprisonment, the term "intentionally" is defined to mean a "conscious objective or purpose" to restrict that person's movements. A person restricts another's movements unlawfully when he or she is not authorized by law to do so.

A person is confined or moved without consent when such restriction is accomplished in one of the following manners:

  • by physical force, intimidation or deception; or
  • by any means whatever, including acquiescence of the victim;
  • if he or she is a child less than sixteen years old or an incompetent person and the parent, guardian or other person or institution having lawful control or custody of him or her has not acquiesced in the movement or confinement.

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Affirmative Defense to the Charge of Unlawful Imprisonment

Under the laws of the State of New York, it is an affirmative defense to the charge of unlawful imprisonment that the person restrained was a child less than sixteen years old, and the defendant was a relative of such child, and the defendant's sole purpose was to assume control of such child.

In considering the affirmative defense, the term "relative" is defined to includes a parent, a brother or sister, an ancestor such as a grandparent, or an aunt or uncle.


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New York's Felony Version of Unlawful Imprisonment

Under the felony version, unlawful imprisonment in the first degree is a Class "E" felony under New York Penal Law 135.10. Under the laws of the State of New York, a person can be charged with unlawful imprisonment in the First Degree when it is alleged that he or she restrained another person under circumstances which expose the alleged victim to a risk of serious physical injury.


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Definition of Terms in New York's Unlawful Imprisonment Statute

Under New York's unlawful imprisonment statute, the term "restrain" is defined to mean to restrict a person's movements without consent and with knowledge that the restriction is unlawful under the following circumstances:

  • the person accused acted unlawfully and intentionally in such manner as to interfere substantially with another person's liberty by moving him or her from one place to another; or
  • by confining the alleged victim either in the place where the restriction commences or in a place to which the alleged victim has been moved.

The term "serious physical injury" is defined as impairment of a person's physical condition which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.


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Finding a Qualified Attorney to Fight Charges of Unlawful Imprisonment

Whether you are charged with the felony or misdemeanor version of unlawful imprisonment, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in New York City to discuss the facts of your case. Often acting quickly after the accusation is made can lead to the best results. With offices conveniently located in Queens, Rochelle Berliner represents clients on the charge of unlawful imprisonment throughout New York City including Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Manhattan.

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