Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Good afternoon Ann, I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. Yes, what happened was a crime under the laws of PA. It constituted the crime of False Imprisonment, and can be charged as a misdemeanor. The statute of limitations has not passed, and you may file a police report on the incident. Here is the PA law: § 2903. False imprisonment. (a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty. (b) Grading.-- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an offense under subsection (a) is a misdemeanor of the second degree. (2) If the victim of the offense is an individual under 18 years of age, an offense under subsection (a) is a felony of the second degree. (Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.721, No.98, eff. imd.) You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction. Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed. I wish you the best in 2013, Doug
What is a misdemeanor of the second degree? Does it go on as a criminal charge? Will it go on his record?
What is the best way to file a police report to a police department that is understaffed? What type of info will they ask..is there a form that I fill out? Thank you!
What is the statute of limitations for false imprisonment in PA? Thank you
Good evening Ann,
What is a misdemeanor of the second degree? It is a criminal charge. Does it go on as a criminal charge? Yes. Will it go on his record? Yes, if he is charged and convicted.
I have a couple more questions concerning this...
Within the same incident... on the way back to the house, he was driving erratically (swerving all over the road) and going at excessive speeds to "show me what happens" when I argue with him. I was terrified that we would wreck and, again, 7 months pregnant in a high risk pregnancy. I was begging him to stop and crying and he did not stop and stated "Are you scared now?? good that's what happens."
Is there a crime involved here?
I would also like to ask... since this is just my word against his, with no real physical evidence, aside from my parents as witnesses, is this worth pursuing?
There were text messages between us later that night that would show that it happened, however my phone automatically deletes texts after some time and I can't get to them anymore. So I really don't have anything to show for it.
Also, considering that we are in the middle of a custody battle, and this incident happened months ago... is it likely that the defendant can claim that I am just now filing this as a way to get a one-up in the custody case? I want to make sure that this can not end up hurting me in any way... he is very likely to lie and deny everything.
I regret not filing it sooner, I was under the false impression that since I did not file that night, it was too late. I would like him to have to deal with the consequences of what he did.
Good evening Ann, You asked:
Is there a crime involved here? Unless you demanded to have him stop, and let you out, then there was no crime. However, if he would not stop and let you out after you asked, that would be e different crime. It would constitute Unlawful Restraint.
§ 2902. Unlawful restraint. (a) Offense defined.--A person commits an offense if he knowingly: (1) restrains another unlawfully in circumstances exposing him to risk of serious bodily injury; or (2) holds another in a condition of involuntary servitude. (b) Grading.-- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an offense under subsection (a) is a misdemeanor of the first degree. (2) If the victim of the offense is an individual under 18 years of age, an offense under subsection (a) is a felony of the second degree. (Dec. 30, 1974, P.L.1120, No.361, eff. imd.; Dec. 20, 2000, P.L.721, No.98, eff. imd.)
Also, considering that we are in the middle of a custody battle, and this incident happened months ago... is it likely that the defendant can claim that I am just now filing this as a way to get a one-up in the custody case? Yes, he could claim that, and it would arguably have some merit, I'm afraid. Normally people who are assaulted or against whom a crime has just been committed, report the crime immediately. When they don't, the authorities generally ask why not. I want to make sure that this can not end up hurting me in any way... he is very likely to lie and deny everything. Because you can't prove that it happened---it is your word against his---it may not be able to help you much.
The prosecutor may always file charges within the statute of limitations if they choose too. So it is not that legally, it is too late. But is does become a harder case to prove for the prosecutor the longer the time is that has elapsed.
I did not file immediately because 1. his family was "handling him," 2. I was in shock over it and afraid of him, 3. I was pregnant with his child and did not want to get him into huge trouble... he downplayed it and I wanted it to have not been as serious as it was and so I downplayed it too. But it stuck with me and it was wrong..... so... I think I can easily answer that question when asked.
I am not so much concerned that it will HELP my custody case, since they really are separate issues. I am concerned that he would be able to deny it all and turn it to use against me and that it will HURT me with the custody issues... trying to say that I made it up just because of the current custody things. Would that hold any merit if he tried to do that? Or will the court also see them as separate issues. If that makes sense.
It will be very upsetting to me if I pursue this and he gets all charges completely dropped. The point is that he would receive some justice for what he did, at least a little. Is it likely from your experience that if it was just our word and he denied it... that charges would be completely dropped? I have not had any experiences even close to this to judge what may happen.
Basically... even if it won't help my custody case, if it couldn't hurt me there either then I want to press the charges. However, if he will likely get relieved of everything due to lack of physical evidence, then it will be a big headache waste of time with a result that would be emotionally difficult to deal with as a victim of abuse.
I understand that it is a serious thing to file criminal charges and just want to make sure that I am informed, and that the timing of it would not effect my stance in the custody case... which is currently in my favor for many reasons.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).