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CRS 18-3-303 — Colorado False Imprisonment

Colorado Springs False Imprisonment Lawyer

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Colorado statute CRS 18-3-303, known as false imprisonment, is a Class 2 Misdemeanor offense. It is defined as detaining or confining someone without their consent or legal authority and can be enhanced to a Class 5 Felony offense if detainment exceeds 12 hours or force or threats of force are present.

Penalties for False Imprisonment in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
False imprisonment Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 120 days in jail
  • Fine of up to $750
False imprisonment (aggravated) Class 5 Felony
  • 1–3 years in prison
  • Fine of $1,000– $100,000
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-303)

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You

The elements of the crime of false imprisonment are:

  1. That the defendant,
  2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. knowingly,
  4. confined or detained another person,
  5. without the other person’s consent, and
  6. without proper legal authority.
  7. If there is an affirmative defense raised, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.

Possible Defenses for False Imprisonment in Colorado

The prosecution must prove that you are guilty of false imprisonment beyond a reasonable doubt, specifically that you, in the state of Colorado, at or around the time you were charged, knowingly confined or detained another person without the person’s consent and without legal authority.

The elements required to prove false imprisonment include:

  • Willful detention
  • Without consent
  • And without authority of law

In this case, the best possible defenses against a false imprisonment claim are:

  • The person consented to be detained
  • The person was free to go at any time
  • You were a peace officer acting in good faith

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-3-303

(1) Any person who knowingly confines or detains another without the other’s consent and without proper legal authority commits false imprisonment. This section does not apply to a peace officer acting in good faith within the scope of his or her duties.

 (2) False imprisonment is a class 2 misdemeanor; except that false imprisonment is a class 5 felony if:

 (a)(I) The person uses force or threat of force to confine or detain the other person; and

 (II) The person confines or detains the other person for twelve hours or longer; or

 (b)(I) The person confines or detains another person less than eighteen years of age in a locked or barricaded room under circumstances that cause bodily injury or serious emotional distress; and

 (II) Such confinement or detention was part of a continued pattern of cruel punishment or unreasonable isolation or confinement of the child; or

 (c) The person confines or detains another person less than eighteen years of age by means of tying, caging, chaining, or otherwise using similar physical restraints to restrict that person’s freedom of movement under circumstances that cause bodily injury or serious emotional distress.

 (3) Notwithstanding section 13-90-107 or any other provision of law, the statutory privilege between a patient and a physician or between an individual and his or her spouse is not available for the purpose of excluding or refusing testimony in any prosecution for a violation of this section where the conditions described in subsection (2)(b) or (2)(c) of this section are alleged.

 (4) Nothing in this section limits the ability of a person to assert the affirmative defense described in section 18-1-703.

Have you been charged or arrested for false imprisonment in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

False imprisonment is a charge that can be hard to get out from under. Your charges can quickly escalate if you also face domestic violence charges or the alleged victim was moved, even slightly (felony kidnapping). A conviction could mean a prison sentence, losing your rights, and a lifelong criminal record. There are many defenses to get false imprisonment charges dismissed in Colorado, including having the alleged victim’s consent or establishing that they were free to go at any time, but the best way to protect yourself when charged with false imprisonment is by understanding your rights and the laws governing your case.

Contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your options.


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Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of false imprisonment?

False imprisonment is defined as detaining or confining someone without their consent.

The following examples constitute false imprisonment in Colorado Springs:

  • Locking someone in a room or a car
  • Unlawful restraint or false arrest
  • Preventing someone from leaving a place

Is false imprisonment a felony in Colorado?

A false imprisonment charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750.

However, false imprisonment can be enhanced to a Class 5 felony if the alleged victim was detained for more than 12 hours, the defendant used force or threats of force to detain the victim, or the alleged victim is a minor.

Is false imprisonment the same as kidnapping in Colorado?

False imprisonment and kidnapping are both a crime but are separate criminal charges in Colorado. False imprisonment involves unlawfully detaining a victim in the same place, while kidnapping requires movement of the victim.