In Arizona, unlawful imprisonment is a lesser-included offense of kidnapping and is punished less severely. Both involve the illegal restraint of another person. Restraint can be accomplished a number of ways under Arizona law such as by moving a person from one place to another or by simply restricting their liberty through trickery or coercion.
Unlawful imprisonment cases are usually charged as a class 6 felony. The criminal act is charged as a misdemeanor when the victim is safely released prior to the defendant’s arrest. Phoenix unlawful imprisonment cases most typically arise in the context of a domestic violence situation where the defendant and the alleged victim are related or live together.
Kidnapping is distinguished from unlawful imprisonment based on the defendant’s intent or mindset. For example, if a person commits unlawful imprisonment in Phoenix with the intent to hold the victim for ransom or inflict a sexual offense on the victim, the criminal act can be charged as kidnapping. On the other hand, unlawful imprisonment does not require proof that the defendant intended to do anything other than restrain the victim. Because the potential sentence for a kidnapping conviction can be significantly greater than the punishment for unlawful imprisonment, many experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys like Ryan Garvey may sometimes seek a reduction down to an unlawful imprisonment charge by attacking the evidence related to the defendant’s intent or motives.
Many cases involving these kinds of charges are based on the allegations of the alleged victim and are not corroborated by any physical evidence or other eyewitnesses. Like most “he said/she said” situations, Arizona unlawful imprisonment cases are often resolved at trial. If you have been charged, you need a seasoned trial attorney, who knows how to confront your accuser in court, expose any inconsistencies in their allegations and attack their credibility. When facing serious criminal charges in Maricopa County, there is no substitute for experience. Seasoned Criminal Defense attorney Ryan Garvey has conducted dozens of trials between his time as a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney. If you are facing unlawful imprisonment charges, contact the experts at Sonoran Law Group today.