Charlotte Unlawful Restraint Lawyer

Charlotte Unlawful Restraint Lawyer

Charlotte Unlawful Restraint Attorney

Under North Carolina state law, a person commits an unlawful restraint when they willfully and unlawfully restrain another person without their consent or the consent of their guardian. If you have been charged with unlawful restraint, contact a Charlotte unlawful restraint lawyer as soon as you can to discuss your options and fully understand your situation.

Charlotte Unlawful Restraint Lawyer

What Can an Unlawful Restraint Lawyer Do for You?

Facing any sort of felony charge can be intimidating and stressful. Attempting to handle such a charge alone is not only intimidating but truly requires a skilled attorney. You need someone on your side who understands the ins and outs of the law and can help you figure out your position. An experienced unlawful restraint lawyer can walk you through the options at your disposal, help build your defense, and reach any conclusions about your situation.

A skilled unlawful restraint attorney can manage a great deal of paperwork you are bound to face in Charlotte, NC, gather evidence that backs up your claims, conduct interviews with any potential witnesses, file any motions that need filing, and, most importantly, advocate for you in court. Your lawyer will be on your side no matter what. In fact, your attorney may be the only one in the courtroom who is wholly and unquestionably on your side.

How To Determine Unlawful Restraint

Unlawful restraint, also called felonious restraint, occurs when someone is being held against their will for whatever reason through the use of force, deception, or fraud. In order for an unlawful restraint charge to be made, the case has to meet a number of specific criteria:

  • The defendant willfully and intentionally restrained the victim for any amount of time.
  • The victim was restrained against their will and without consent. If the victim was under the age of 16, then their parent or guardian did not give consent either.
  • The defendant transported the victim from the first location of restraint to a secondary location using a vehicle of some sort.

If you have all three, intentional harm, lack of consent, and unauthorized transportation, there is likely a case to be made for unlawful restraint and/or false imprisonment.

Examples of Unlawful Restraint

There is a very fine line between unlawful restraint and strict parenting, among other seemingly innocuous actions that are not being done to harm someone intentionally. Here are some clearcut examples of incidents of unlawful restraint:

  • A woman is locked in a man’s basement, where she is tied up and threatened. If she attempts to escape, he has promised to harm her or worse. This is a blatant case of unlawful restraint.
  • You get mad at a friend for whatever reason and lock them in your car, refusing to allow them to leave. You then drive that car to another location and leave your friend there with no means of escape. Regardless of what caused the initial argument, this is a clear-cut case of unlawful restraint.
  • As part of a fraternity, sorority, or another club initiation, you are tied up and left to fend for yourself in some remote location. You may feel this act of abandonment is a simple hazing ritual, but it qualifies as unlawful restraint.
  • The owner of a restaurant forces their employees to work extra long hours without pay and threatens them with termination if they try to leave at any time. Since the employees are being held there without consent and the owner is attempting to make them indentured servants, it is an unlawful restraint situation.
  • Your new boyfriend or girlfriend decides to take your underage child on a road trip without telling you about it. Since they are not a parent or guardian to the child and you did not give your consent for the trip, there is a case to be made for unlawful restraint.

All of these potential situations, and others like them, open up the discussion of an unlawful restraint charge in the Charlotte area. Do not attempt to hold someone against their will, or you could be charged with unlawful restraint or even kidnapping. The maximum sentence for an unlawful restraint charge is 59 months in prison, a very serious penalty. Depending on the situation and the case at hand, the penalty could be greater or lesser. Unlawful restraint is a Class F felony.

Unlawful Restraint vs. Kidnapping

While an unlawful restraint charge bears a great resemblance to a kidnapping charge, the two are not the same crime. Unlawful restraint is punished much less harshly than kidnapping in North Carolina. Unlawful restraint and kidnapping both involve unlawfully confining someone against their will and moving the victim from one location to a secondary location without their consent. Kidnapping, however, implies further harm and sinister intent.

To prove kidnapping, one of the following purposes must be proven as well:

  • The restrained victim was going to be held for ransom.
  • The restrained victim was going to be used to shield the perpetrator from harm.
  • The restrained victim was going to be kept in a state of involuntary servitude for the perpetual future.
  • The restrained victim was going to be sold into a human trafficking ring or some other form of sexual slavery.
  • The restrained victim was going to be used as a hostage to allow the perpetrator to get away with a different crime, such as robbery or murder.

A kidnapping charge is taken very seriously by North Carolina state law. It is a considerably more severe charge than unlawful restraint. Kidnapping carries either a Class E felony or a Class C felony. If charged with a Class E felony, the perpetrator could face up to 5 years in prison. If charged with a Class C felony, the perpetrator could face up to 15 years in prison.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is very similar to unlawful restraint but does away with the unlawful transportation caveat that must be present for the charge to be unlawful restraint. False imprisonment occurs when one person locks another person away without cause and without authority, resulting in the victim losing the ability to move about freely.

False imprisonment is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. It carries a maximum penalty of 120 days in jail and a fine that is established at the discretion of the judge presiding over the case. Depending on the details surrounding each individual case, false imprisonment can evolve into an unlawful restraint or a kidnapping case.

Unlawful Arrest

Unlawful arrest is another situation similar to unlawful restraint, kidnapping, and false imprisonment but is often committed by law enforcement. In order to arrest someone, police officers and federal agents alike need legal justification. This can include probable cause, a warrant for the intended person’s arrest, issue a restraining order or some other form of credible evidence that reinforces the intended person’s perceived guilt.

For probable cause, law enforcement officers need more than just a hunch or a suspicion. Probable cause has to be supported by evidence of a crime. Law enforcement officers must be able to point to specific circumstances that led them to believe a crime was being committed and that the person in question needed to be arrested for it for no other reason than the aforementioned probable cause.

If the police did not have probable cause for arresting you, and you believe you have been detained unlawfully or with ulterior motives, you may be able to challenge any charges placed against you and sue for unlawful arrest. If you were severely injured through this traumatic event, they may want to consider reaching out to an injury lawyer to pursue further damages in addition to your unlawful arrest claim.

The main difference between unlawful arrest and false imprisonment is who is doing the detaining. False imprisonment is often committed by people with no law enforcement credentials and for sinister purposes. Unlawful arrest is committed by law enforcement officers in the performance of their duty, though they may not have proper cause to have arrested the intended person in the first place.

Defenses Against Unlawful Restraint & False Imprisonment

If you are being charged with unlawful restraint or false imprisonment, there are some defenses you and your lawyer could consider using to attempt to lessen the charge or make it go away completely:

  • Voluntary Confinement: The most common defense against unlawful restraint allegations is voluntary confinement, in which the alleged victim agrees to be restrained. They were not coerced, threatened, or deprived, and they fully consented to their confinement.
  • Lawful Restraint: There are situations where private citizens are legally justified in restraining someone, such as a store owner forcing a shoplifter to remain in their store while the police are notified. In fact, in this case, the store owner is legally allowed to detain the alleged shoplifter for any reasonable amount of time.
  • Parenting: Restraining one’s own children is perfectly reasonable so long as the children are not harmed or mistreated in the process.

Unlawful Restraint Law FAQs

Q: What Is Felonious Restraint in North Carolina?

A: A person is committing felonious, or unlawful, restraint if they are willfully and illegally detaining another person without their consent or the consent of their parent or guardian if that person is under the age of 16 years old. In addition, they are transporting that restrained person from one location to a secondary location using a vehicle of some kind. All of this together constitutes unlawful restraint, which is considered a Class F felony.

Q: What Is the Penalty for False Imprisonment in North Carolina?

A: If you have been charged with false imprisonment in North Carolina, the maximum penalty you could face is 120 days in jail and a fine that will be decided at the discretion of a judge. False imprisonment is a Class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. While that may not seem like a harsh penalty, especially when compared to similar crimes, it does not take much for a false imprisonment claim to turn into an unlawful restraint claim or a kidnapping claim.

Q: What Is Unlawful Restraint of Another Person?

A: Unlawful restraint is the act of willfully and intentionally restraining another person without cause, justification, consent, or legal recourse. In this act of restraint, you are openly subjecting the intended victim to bodily harm, emotional distress, and/or involuntary servitude. If the person you are unlawfully restraining is a minor under the age of 16, then you also do not have their parent or guardian’s consent.

Q: How Do You Prove Extortion in North Carolina?

A: Extortion, or blackmail, is a common piece of a kidnapping claim. Proving extortion is easy enough if you have definitive proof through correspondence or recordings of the following:

  • The alleged blackmailer knowingly accused the victim of a crime.
  • The intention was to gain something from the victim.
  • Threats were made to expose the victim of said crime.

Extortion is a serious Class F felony that carries a maximum penalty of 41 months in prison, which equates to just over three years. If you are charged with extortion on top of kidnapping, you are looking at a significant amount of jail time.

Contact an Unlawful Restraint Lawyer Today

Facing a felonious charge is a daunting task that you may not be prepared to handle by yourself. Thankfully, you do not have to. The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett is prepared to provide you with solid legal counsel, a dedicated legal defense, and an understanding of where your case stands. We can help you collect any evidence that backs up your side of the story, and we will provide you with the opportunity to fight against any charges you may be facing.

It takes very little for an unlawful restraint charge to evolve into a kidnapping charge. You will need an experienced unlawful restraint lawyer to ensure things do not spiral out of control for you and lead to additional charges. Otherwise, your entire life could be altered irreparably. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as you can.


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