In September 2023, CBS local news reported that a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper had been arrested for false imprisonment, assault, and strangulation. The state trooper, who was married then, solicited his colleagues to wrongfully arrest his ex-girlfriend and have her falsely committed to a mental health facility based on purported suicidal texts. While the trooper informed colleagues he would personally handle the situation, he drove to a nearby state forest to confront the victim before other state troopers had the opportunity to arrive at the scene. The trooper then used a variety of physical restraints while attempting to arrest the victim, all of which were captured on camera, indicating the victim was genuinely confused and in pain. Following the "arrest," the victim was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for five days. Throughout the subsequent investigation, it became clear that the trooper had used his position as a state trooper to bolster his already controlling relationship with his ex-girlfriend. The State Police suspended the trooper without pay, and he is currently being held on assault, false imprisonment, and strangulation charges.
Although this story garnered attention from media outlets because it involved a government employee, any instance of false imprisonment is very serious under the law. If you are the victim of domestic violence and have had your freedom restrained, you may qualify for a PFA Order based on false imprisonment. Contact our Family Law Team today by calling (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.
What Is False Imprisonment?
In Pennsylvania, false imprisonment is defined as another person's intentional and illegal restraint. False imprisonment is typically considered a second-degree misdemeanor, but charges can escalate to a second-degree felony if minors are involved. Penalties for misdemeanor convictions can include up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Is False Imprisonment Considered Domestic Violence?
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may have been subjected to false imprisonment without ever realizing it. Under Pennsylvania law, false imprisonment can be considered domestic violence if the act takes place between family or household members, siblings, or individuals who have a sexual and/or intimate relationship. Some examples of false imprisonment within the context of a domestic violence relationship can include the following:
- Being physically restrained while trying to leave a room. Examples of this may include being locked in a room, held down, blocking exits tied up, etc.
- Having personal items hidden or removed. This can occur when one partner's keys, driver's license, phone, etc., are hidden from them on purpose to prevent them from leaving or seeking help.
- Use of intimidation. This can occur if one partner threatens the other partner to the extent that they do not feel safe or free to leave. In some scenarios, weapons, drugs, or threats of harming loved ones may also be used.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, many victims of domestic violence have been subjected to false imprisonment in their relationships. If you have been or fear you will be the victim of false imprisonment or other violent acts, legal remedies are designed to protect you from your abuser.
PFA Orders in Pennsylvania
A Protection From Abuse Order or "PFA" Order is a restraining order most commonly filed in domestic violence cases in Pennsylvania. PFA orders prevent the abuser from contacting the victim, being near their home or place of employment, etc. Because false imprisonment is considered an act of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, if you have been falsely imprisoned by a family member, household member, or intimate partner, you may qualify for a PFA Order to keep you safe. PFA Orders are taken very seriously under the law, and abusers who violate an existing order can face serious consequences, including convictions, fines, and jail time.
PFA Attorneys in Pennsylvania
The LLF Law Firm's Family Law Team has a track record of protecting victims of domestic violence across Pennsylvania. Our team is not only compassionate and available, but we are driven to keep you safe and obtain the best possible outcome for your unique situation. Although seeking help can be difficult, your health, happiness, and freedom are on the line and deserve to be safeguarded. Contact us for a confidential consultation today at (888) 535-3686 or by using our online contact form.