In New York, it is illegal to purposely restrain another person. When you restrain somebody else even though you don’t have the legal right to, you are committing unlawful imprisonment, which is a crime. Even if you are not particularly violent towards the person, you can still be charged with unlawful imprisonment in the second degree. Typically, unlawful imprisonment includes a physical restraint – locking a person in a room or tying them to a piece of furniture, for example.
According to New York law, the word “restrain” refers to when a person’s movements are restricted so that they cannot move from one place to another. This can include confining the person or forcing them to move to another location where they are also restricted. Though physical force is sometimes used, it doesn’t have to be present. The victim may be intimated or deceived instead of hurt or handled physically. To fully understand how “restrain” is defined in New York, refer to Penal Law § 135.00(1), which discusses the intentional and unlawful restriction of a person.
Example of Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree
Mike breaks into the house of a stranger, intending to rob it when nobody is home. While he is searching the house for items to take, the owner of the home returns. Mike takes the owner of the home, pushes him into a bedroom and ties him to a chair. He then shuts the bedroom door behind him and moves a big piece of furniture in front of it so he can’t get out. Mike then leaves the house. Since he prevented the owner from leaving the bedroom, Mike can be charged with unlawful imprisonment in the second degree.
Unlawful Imprisonment Sentence
Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree is considered a class A misdemeanor. This crime comes with a maximum sentence of one year in jail. As an alternative to jail time, the judge may opt for a sentence of three years of probation.
Defenses Against Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree
If you are dealing with an unlawful imprisonment charge, a NYC criminal lawyer can help. It’s possible that your defense will be that the person was not truly restrained. If the person should have been able to get out of the restraint, your defense may be that the person could have escaped with just a little bit of effort. Even if the person did not escape, if it was possible that they could, your lawyer may be able to argue that defense.
Related offenses are unlawful imprisonment in the first degree and kidnapping in both the first and second degree. The language between these offenses can be similar, which is why it requires a professional criminal attorney to assess the nuances of your case. For example, the primary difference between a kidnapping charge and an unlawful imprisonment charge is the word “abduct.” In kidnapping, an abduction occurs, while in unlawful imprisonment, restraint, not abduction, occurs. If you’re being charged with kidnapping even though you should be charged with unlawful imprisonment in the second degree, you’ll want a criminal lawyer to work on your behalf.
If you’ve been charged with unlawful imprisonment, it’s important to contact a criminal attorney right away. Legal guidance is necessary in order to maximize your options and reduce your sentence as much as possible.
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