Civil Causes of Action - False Imprisonment Law and Legal Definition

Any intentional detention of the person of another not authorized by law is false imprisonment. It is any illegal imprisonment, without due process or under a false authority, without consideration of whether any crime has been committed or a debt due. Examples may include being locked in a car, driven about without opportunity to get out, or being tied to a chair or locked in a closet. It may be the follow-up to a false arrest, such as holding someone in the office of a department store, but more often it resembles a kidnapping with no belief or claim of a legal right to hold the person.

Although a claim of false imprisonment may be asserted along with a claim of malicious presection, the false imprisonment claim is based upon the unlawful violation of the plaintiff's personal liberty, while the malicious prosecution claim deals with the lack of probable cause for prosecution. The remedy for false imprisonment is an order to be restored to liberty by writ of habeas corpus and to recover damages for the injury by action of trespass. It is a criminal offense for which damages may be awarded.