False Imprisonment

Georgia False Imprisonment Lawyers

The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness are guaranteed to every US citizen by the Declaration of Independence.  These are “unalienable” rights given to every human by their creator, according to our founding document, and it is the duty of our government to protect these rights.

Unalienable: means incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.

 At the Wetherington Law Firm, we believe it is our responsibility to take every action legally possible in the defense of our clients’ civil rights. We take this responsibility seriously and value the trust our clients place in our diligent representation to ensure their civil rights are protected. It’s imperative that you hire an experienced advocate who will tirelessly and persistently pursue compensation for you or your family member who was subjected to false imprisonment.

What is False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is the unlawful detention of another, for any length of time, whereby the person is deprived of personal liberty and freedom. False imprisonment can occur by a private person, company, or government entities.

Misconduct in false imprisonment occurs when an individual is confined against their will by law enforcement without legal justification and is the most prevalent type of police misconduct.

False imprisonment can also happen when a person’s property is unlawful detained, such as holding a person’s purse, animal, or vehicle.

Examples of False Imprisonment

  • Threating someone verbally to keep them on the scene or confined;
  • Illegally detaining someone, perhaps on a street, for questioning through the abuse of police authority;
  • Using physical force to restrain someone without probable cause;
  • Handcuffing an individual without probable cause;
  • Detaining someone in the back of a police car without probable cause
  • Restraining someone in a jail cell or a police interview room by means such as locking the door, and preventing them from leaving;
  • Detaining a person’s personal property, such as a purse;
  • Booting a person’s vehicle to preventing them from leaving;
  • Preventing an individual from leaving his or her own home.

A victim who has a reasonable belief that he or she was being confined or detained may have an actionable false imprisonment claim.

Federal and state laws, including Georgia law, protect people from false arrest and imprisonment.  This misconduct is a direct violation of your 4th Amendment freedom.

False Imprisonment by Law Enforcement

Unfortunately, many citizens are wrongly imprisoned and incarcerated each year; statistically speaking, data shows African Americans are only 13% of the American population.  But, a majority of defendants who are wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated are African American. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016).  Worse, African Americans are overwhelmingly the main targets in proven scandals where police officers have been caught intentionally framing innocent  defendants for crimes that  never occurred.

Police officers exercise incredible power and authority in the course of doing their jobs. Lives hang in the balance daily based upon their decisions. We believe the majority of law enforcement officers truly desire to protect and serve, and that they are honorable men and women who make the best possible decisions in what are often deadly circumstances.  Sadly, there are many other police officers out there who are decidedly unfit for duty – they need control over others, are prejudiced and self-seeking, feeling the need to be right at all costs.

These cases often lead to more than false imprisonment – assault, battery, rape, and more.  If that happens, you will need our Atlanta abuse of force lawyers.

False imprisonment in the context of law enforcement refers to the unlawful detention of a person for any length of time.  It does not include the arrest of a person.  False arrest is a form of false imprisonment, but involves a different body of law.

False Imprisonment by Persons Other than Law Enforcement

Over the last decade, vehicle booting companies are responsible for more false imprisonments in Georgia than any other industry, including security guards.  Unlike booting, security guards are less likely to commit false imprisonment because there is a specific statute that authorizes the reasonable detention of a potential shoplifter:

Whenever the owner or operator of a mercantile establishment or any agent or employee of the owner or operator detains, arrests, or causes to be detained or arrested any person reasonably thought to be engaged in shoplifting and, as a result of the detention or arrest, the person so detained or arrested brings an action for false arrest or false imprisonment against the owner, operator, agent, or employee, no recovery shall be had by the plaintiff in such action where it is established by competent evidence:

(1) That the plaintiff had so conducted himself or behaved in such manner as to cause a man of reasonable prudence to believe that the plaintiff, at or immediately prior to the time of the detention or arrest, was committing the offense of shoplifting, as defined by Code Section 16-8-14; or

(2) That the manner of the detention or arrest and the length of time during which such plaintiff was detained was under all the circumstances reasonable.

This does not mean that a security guard at a place like Wal-Mart or Kroger cannot commit false imprisonment.  Under this statute, there are two important things to consider.  First, the detainer must have a reasonable suspicion that the person being detained was shoplifting.  Second, the length of detention must be reasonable under the circumstances.

Legal Requirements for False Arrest and False Imprisonment Claims

False Arrest

  • Use of force or a show of authority
  • Genuine belief that you are not free to leave
  • Intentional restriction of movement or freedom without probable cause

Many false arrest claims involve private security guards. When security officers stop someone and question that person, there are strict guidelines they must follow.  Failure to follow these guidelines could cause the security guard (and his employer) to become liable for damages stemming from false arrest claims.

False Imprisonment

In Georgia, the only essential elements in a suit for false imprisonment are detention of the person of the plaintiff without his/her consent and its unlawfulness. Therefore, if one should detain another without the person’s consent and that detention was without the authority of law, the person detained would be entitled to recover.

Do You Have a Civil Claim for False Imprisonment?

Civil claims include monetary compensation for injuries sustained as a result of false imprisonment, including pain, suffering, lost time, reputation damage and emotional harm. If you suspect yourself or a loved one has suffered harm from false imprisonment, determine if your situation meets the following legal criteria:

  • Your ability to move freely was restrained; and.
  • There was no legal justification to restrain or detain you.

For the first criteria—being held against one’s will—is defined using a “reasonable person” standard, which is objective. Would a reasonable person in the same situation have believed he or she was being held against his or her will?

For the second criteria, the most important component is the method in which the individual was detained. Force or physical restraint is not necessary to prove this criterion.  Sometimes, the threat of force or harm results in the individual feeling like they are not free to leave.  Other times, the detention can be unlawful based on a failure to comply with an enabling act, such as the shopkeepers statute we discussed above.

You Can Make a Lasting Difference in the Lives of Others by Hiring the Wetherington Law Firm

Obtaining full and complete compensation for our clients is the most important service we provide to our clients.  Protecting the general public and making sure that other people are protected is part of obtaining justice.  We frequently work with law enforcement, local government officials, state legislators, and federal agencies to understand the root cause of dangerous conditions.  This often leads to uncovering dangerous trends or patterns of behavior that must be changed.  Many of our clients have chosen not to be defined by their injuries, and instead choose to serve as a beacon of hope to others.  Whether through legislation, refusing to settle unless changes are made, or simply sharing their story, our clients’ efforts have helped save MILLIONS of people from serious injury or death.  We care about you as a person and will work with you however you want to help make the world a safer and better place.  Call us now to get started.

 

 

Were You a Victim of False Imprisonment?

Call or email us anytime. We accept all cases on contingency, which means that you only pay if we recover money for you.

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Reputation matters. Our firm only pursues high value, meritorious lawsuits. The insurance companies may not like us, but they respect the work we do and results we obtain for our clients. When a case moves into litigation, the defense attorneys know that we have properly investigated the claims, know the applicable law, and are preparing the case for trial.

There is no risk when hiring our firm.

We do not charge attorney fees for obtaining property damage or medical payment coverage for our clients. Other firms charge for this service.

We have saved our clients millions simply by negotiating medical bills and fighting invalid medical liens.

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