New York Penal Law § 135.10: Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree

Unlawful imprisonment, sometimes referred to as false imprisonment, is defined as detaining another person without legal authorization or against that person's will. Unlawful imprisonment typically occurs when one person prevents another person from leaving a vehicle, room, building, or other some other area. There are two types of unlawful imprisonment in the New York Penal Law. Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree is defined as unlawfully restraining another person. Under New York Penal Law § 135.10, you will be charged with the more serious crime of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree if you unlawfully restrain someone in a manner that puts that person at risk of serious physical injury.

The term "restrain" is defined in New York Penal Law § 135.00(1) as intentionally, unlawfully and substantially restricting the movement of another person.

Example

Lana and Charlie met at a nightclub. They talked for several hours. Charlie then invited Lana to go back to his home and Lana agreed. They both got into Charlie's car. Lana became concerned when Charlie started to drive into a secluded area. When she asked to get out of the car he yelled at her and told her to shut up. Lana then took off her seatbelt. When she did that, Charlie pulled out a knife and told her not to move. Lana then opened the car door and jumped out. Charlie could be charged with unlawful imprisonment in the first degree as he used the threat of violence to try to keep Lana in the car.

Related Offenses
  1. Unlawful imprisonment in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 135.05
  2. Kidnapping in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 135.20
  3. Kidnapping in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 135.25
Defenses

If you face a charge of unlawful imprisonment the prosecutor must show that the victim was actually restrained and unable to leave. If, for example, you locked someone into a small room that was filled with boxes and other items, but the room did have an unlocked window behind some boxes, then you may have a valid defense against a charge of unlawful imprisonment. Another defense would be to show that the victim was not in danger of a serious physical injury. For example, if you pointed a gun at the person in order to prevent the person from leaving but the gun was actually a toy gun you may have a defense against an unlawful imprisonment in the first degree charge.

Sentence

Because unlawful imprisonment in the first degree is a class E felony the maximum possible prison sentence is 4 years. Particularly if you have no prior convictions, the judge may choose to sentence you to a probation term of 5 years instead of sending you to prison. Furthermore, you may be ordered to pay a fine and restitution to the victim.

New York Penal Law § 135.10: Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree

A person is guilty of unlawful imprisonment in the first degree when he restrains another person under circumstances which expose the latter to a risk of serious physical injury.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been charged with unlawful imprisonment in the first degree you could end up in prison for up to 4 years. Because your freedom is at stake it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with kidnapping, assault, stalking, and other serious crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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