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Penal Code 236, or PC 236 for short, is the part of the California criminal code that illegalizes false imprisonment. This is a serious crime that can result in harsh penalties. If you have been charged with breaking the law under PC 236, it is important to know your rights.
What Is Illegal Under Penal Code 236?
PC 236 deals with false imprisonment. However, most people aren’t very clear on what false imprisonment actually is. In the state of California, false imprisonment as outlined under Penal Code 236 is the act of detaining another person for a period of time and limiting their personal freedom against their will. This can be done for many reasons, but the key is whether or not they had the choice to leave or were coerced into staying in captivity thanks to some kind of perceived threat.
Different examples of false imprisonment are outlined under subsections of this penal code such as 236.1 . While it may seem like an uncommon crime, human trafficking, one of the examples outlined, is unfortunately becoming a very common crime in the United States. This is forcing a person into captivity with the motivation of using them to produce a profit. This can include slave labor and often forced prostitution.
What Are the Penalties for Being Convicted Under PC 236?
False imprisonment under PC 236 can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony in the California legal system depending on the specific circumstances of a case. If it is tried as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties could include up to a year in a California county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If it is tried as a felony, the penalties could include 16 months to three years in a state penitentiary and a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalty imposed also typically depends on the facts of the case. For example, according to the law, if the person falsely imprisoned was a senior citizen, the amount of prison time given could be increased by as much as 4 years.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
False imprisonment is an extremely serious charge that could result in a person spending years in a state prison. To prevent this from happening, you need adequate legal counsel to help properly present your side to the judge and jury.
Thankfully, there are a number of successful defense strategies for this kind of case. The evidence presented could prove to the jury that the person who is claiming to have been detained could have decided to leave at any time. If the prosecution’s evidence suggesting some kind of threat was made by the defendant is undermined, this could result in an acquittal of the charge.
Overall, a proper case needs to be presented to the jury. Juries are unlikely to be lenient in a case in which a person is believed to have been held against their will. You need an attorney that can prove that was not the case beyond a reasonable doubt.