False imprisonment

In Victoria, False Imprisonment is a common law offence. It is committed by a person who was found to have held someone against their will without lawful excuse.

Have you been accused of False Imprisonment? If yes, it is important that you call us to arrange a conference with one of our dedicated criminal defence lawyers to answer your important legal questions. It is important to the success of your case that you speak with a lawyer before you speak with the police about the allegations. It is worth remembering that anything you tell the police can appear in evidence against you.

Police Interview

Have you been asked by police to come in for questioning in relation a charge of False Imprisonment? You might have been asked to ‘come in for a chat’ or to discuss an incident of False Imprisonment. You need to be aware of your rights and obligations during a police interview so that you can protect yourself. Police officers are trained to ask questions, so you must get legal advice on how to best prepare for the interview. We can provide you with short notice interview advice over the phone or we can arrange a conference for you to attend our office and discuss the interview process in detail.

One of our lawyers can also attend the police interview with you if you feel more comfortable having someone there to make sure you do not do or saying anything you are not compelled to do.

Pleading Not Guilty

Our experienced defence lawyers have successfully represented many people charged with False Imprisonment. Pleading not guilty means you are contesting or defending the charge against you, either at a Contested Hearing in the Magistrates’ Court or at trial in the County Court.

The difference our firm offers our clients is that we have in-house barristers who run our contested matters that get involved early in matters early on. We take the time to properly analyse the police evidence against you and conduct our own investigations. This is because police sometimes miss crucial pieces of evidence when they conduct their investigation. We then provide you with comprehensive advice about your avenues for defending the charge of False Imprisonment. With your instructions we develop a strong defence to fight the charge against you.

It is important that you speak with us early, because there is sometimes evidence which needs to be preserved as a matter of urgency. Also, there might be people who witnessed something who the police have not spoken to.

Pleading Guilty

If you have made the decision to plead guilty to a charge of False Imprisonment it is important that you take the time to prepare for your plea hearing. Preparation may involve gathering character references or medical material to submit to the Court. A plea hearing is your opportunity to convince the Judge or Magistrate that you should receive the lowest possible penalty. Speaking to a lawyer about preparing a plea for a charge of False Imprisonment can only improve your chances. We are experienced at addressing relevant factors that guide the Court in reducing the penalty you will receive and we can help you to achieve the best possible result which may include avoiding a term of imprisonment for False Imprisonment.


Sentencing in the higher courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for False Imprisonment in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2016 and 2021Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for False Imprisonment in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Examples of False Imprisonment
  • A woman owes a man money. The man ties the woman up in his car and drives her to her parents’ house forcing her to ask her parents for the money.
  • A man gets into a fight with his partner and locks her in the house for two days.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of False Imprisonment?
  • The other person was not held against their will.
  • The other person was able to leave the situation if they wanted to.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Did you forcibly hold someone else against their will?
  • Could the other person get away?
  • Can they prove that you held someone against their will?
Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).

This is a strictly indictable charge which means that your case must be heard in the County Court.

What is the legal definition of False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is a common law offence, so the legal definition is found in case law. The Prosecution must show that you intentionally and unlawfully restrained the liberty of another person against his or her will.

“Did you restrain someone so they couldn’t get away?”


Other Important Resources
Case Studies