false imprisonment, complete restraint upon a person's liberty of movement without legal justification. Actual physical contact is not necessary; a show of authority or a threat of force is sufficient. The person falsely imprisoned may sue the offender for damages. The suit would be brought against officials improperly issuing warrants for arrest and against private persons for any illegal total restraint of liberty. Release from such illegal restraint may be had through a habeas corpus proceeding. See kidnapping.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.