We will be speaking at the Nowak Society on May 29, 2024, 6:30 – 8:30, discussing Colorado’s Natural Medicine Health Act (psychedelics?). Click here to learn more

False Imprisonment

Unlawfully detaining someone in one place is known as false imprisonment. The offense is similar to kidnapping except the victim doesn’t move from one place or another. False imprisonment is a serious charge that can lead to expensive fines and even incarceration.

A false imprisonment charge can stem from a number of scenarios. In some cases, the false imprisonment is a way to detain someone for a ransom or to frighten the victim or others. However, a false imprisonment charge can arise from a simple misunderstanding. People have been charged with false imprisonment for simply holding someone in their arms for an extended period.

If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment, it’s imperative you seek legal representation.

Attorney for False Imprisonment in Colorado Springs, CO

Even if your false imprisonment charges are from a simple misunderstanding you could still face statutory penalties. A false imprisonment charge is serious and can result in a felony depending on the circumstances. If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment, it’s important you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Contact the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC to further discuss your legal options. We have represented numerous clients charged with false imprisonment and kidnapping. Using our knowledge, Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC will suppress evidence, file motions and do what is needed to win your case. Call us now a (719) 328-1616 to set up a consultation.

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Manitou Springs, Calhan and Fountain.

What’s the Difference Between False Imprisonment and Kidnapping?

You often hear the words kidnapping and false imprisonment being used interchangeably on crime television dramas. However, this isn’t the case under Colorado law. Kidnapping and false imprisonment are two separate crimes with different statutory penalties.

What separates the two offenses is movement. False imprisonment is defined under Title 18 Article 3 Part 3 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) as knowingly confining or detaining another person without their consent or lawful authority. Kidnapping, on the other hand, is when you detain someone and transport them to another place during their confinement.

This means you must transfer a person from one place to another for the crime to be considered kidnapping. If you detain the victim in one place, then you will be charged with false imprisonment instead. Both crimes have serious penalties and can be charged at felony-level.

Colorado Penalties for False Imprisonment

The penalties for false imprisonment depend on the circumstances surrounding the case. Typically, false imprisonment is a class 2 misdemeanor that can result in:

  • Up to 12 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Your penalties may be enhanced to a class 5 felony if:

  • You used force or threats to detain the victim; and
  • The victim was confined for 12 hours or longer


  • The victim was under the age of 18 in a locked or barricaded room where the circumstances could lead to bodily injury or serious emotional distress; and
  • The confinement was a part of a continued pattern of cruel punishment or unreasonable isolation of the minor

Confining or detaining a minor by caging, chaining or using physical restraints is also considered to be false imprisonment. The penalties associated with a class 5 felony include:

  • Up to 2 years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $100,000

Domestic Violence Enhancement to False Imprisonment Charges

It’s common for false imprisonment charges to stem from a domestic violence situation. If that happens, then your sentencing could be elevated by the domestic violence enhancement. The judge could lengthen your minimum and maximum prison sentence.

This isn’t the only consequence that can occur from a domestic violence crime. You might be barred from house arrest or probation if you share a residence with the victim. That is because the court must take into consideration the safety of the victim and their family.

A domestic violence conviction in Colorado will automatically result in a protective order. A protective order is another term for a restraining order, which is meant to keep the “domestic violence predator” away from the victim or their family. The court order will prohibit you from being near the victim, their residence or any other places they frequent.

Violating a protective order will result in additional charges. You will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 18 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

The judge may also order for the removal of any firearms you own. During the protective order, you must give up any deadly weapons until the order has expired.

Possible Defenses to False Imprisonment Charges in Colorado

False imprisonment charges are often difficult to prove. The majority of false imprisonment cases depend on the victim or eyewitness testimony instead of concrete evidence. The best defense for your charges will depend on the facts of the case, but some commonly used defenses for false imprisonment include:

  • The victim consented to their detainment;
  • You confined the victim because they were a danger to themselves or others;
  • The victim was free to go at any time of the crime; or
  • You were a peace officer performing your official duties

If you were charged with a felony-level false imprisonment crime, you can contest that:

  • Force or threats of force were never used against the victim;
  • If the victim was a minor, the detainment was a part of your duties as their guardian; or
  • The victim was detained for less than 12 hours

Additional Resources

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Visit the official website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline to learn more about their resources for victims. Access the site to find more information about their hotline, how to spot the signs for domestic abuse and more.

False Imprisonment – Visit the official website of the Colorado Revised Statutes to learn more about false imprisonment. Access the legislation to learn the elements of the crime, penalties, and about other relatable offenses such as kidnapping.

Defense Lawyer for False Imprisonment in El Paso County, CO

If you or someone you know has been charged with false imprisonment, it’s crucial you have experienced legal counsel. The criminal justice system can be confusing in Colorado. That is why it’s highly recommended you hire a skilled defense lawyer.

Contact Us

Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC is a group of reputable lawyers who have a strong focus in criminal defense.

We will provide a strong defense for you using our legal background and knowledge. Call now at (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout El Paso County and surrounding counties including Denver County and Arapahoe County.

Related Articles

How Do You Find Out if You Have a Warrant in Colorado?

If a person who is criminally charged has a right to a preliminary hearing, it is obvious that the case has serious consequences that could have a negative impact on a person’s life for the remainder of their life.

Exceptional Experience & Results

We’ve served Colorado for 20 years, focusing on Cannabis Law, Criminal Defense and Business Law. We always put our clients first. Our team works hard to protect your rights and meet your needs. We aim for the best results in every case we handle.

Schedule Your Consultation with a Trusted Attorney Today!