Forcible Confinement

Forcible Confinement is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.  The charge is frequently laid alongside domestic violence allegations and, similar to kidnapping, carries significant possible penalties.  A charge of Forcible Confinement requires only a minimal deprivation of freedom of movement: A person can be charged with Forcible Confinement for any conduct that restricts the liberty of another person – everything from standing in a doorway and refusing to let someone leave a space, to locking a person out on an apartment patio against their wishes.  The Criminal Code of Canada states that:

Every one who, without lawful authority, confines, imprisons or forcibly seizes another person is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

The Law Office of Alexander Ejsmont is a criminal defence practice in downtown Vancouver.  Our office has extensive experience defending people charged with Forcible Confinement, Assault, Uttering Threats, and other serious domestic violence offences.  We have successfully had Forcible Confinement charges withdrawn at the resolution stage, and for more serious cases, succeeded in obtaining not-guilty verdicts at the trial level. Our office represents clients throughout the Metro Vancouver Area and the Lower Mainland, and we offer free consultations on all criminal matters.

Under the Criminal Code, a conviction for Forcible Confinement carries a maximum possible penalty of 10 years imprisonment.  The likelihood of someone getting the maximum for a first offence is extremely small, however, the range of sentence for your particular charge is something you can discuss with your lawyer.

If you choose to plead guilty or are convicted after a trial, a judge may consider a variety of different sentences in addition to jail or prison including fines, probation orders, and house arrest. For a large number of offences, a judge also has the ability to discharge a person and not impose a criminal record. The likelihood of a period of jail or prison is case specific and can be discussed during your consultation.  You can also read our primer on all of the possible outcomes in the justice system in Canada here.

Are there defences available to a Forcible Confinement charge?

There are a number of defences to all criminal charges in Canada.  Some are technical and complicated, while others focus on the procedure and context of the arrest and how you were treated by the police, how long it took for your case to go to trial, and what the situation was leading to your Forcible Confinement charge.  You can read our primer on defences to crimes in Canada, but given how specific each situation and case is, you would best be served discussing your matter with a lawyer.

The complainant is lying and I can prove it – what do I do?

Bring the matter to your lawyer’s attention.  If there is evidence to support the claim that you’re the victim of a fabrication, your lawyer may choose to bring it to the attention of the prosecutor in advance of your trial, in an attempt to resolve the matter or get your charges dropped.  In other situations, a lawyer may choose to wait until trial to challenge the Crown’s case with evidence of motive or fabrication.

I know my partner wants to drop the charges and reconcile – what do I do?

If you’re on conditions to not contact a person, including your partner, do not breach them.  Quite often a breach of an undertaking or a bail may be viewed as just as serious as the underlying charge.  If you suspect your partner may be interested in reconciling, bring it to your lawyer’s attention.

The outcome of a case depends on many factors including the seriousness of the allegations, whether or not your rights were violated during your arrest, your personal circumstances, and the strength of the prosecutor’s case against you. There are several possible outcomes for a criminal case including having charges withdrawn (or dropped), having a stay of proceedings entered by a judge, or being found not guilty after a trial. Our office has successfully had charges withdrawn for hundreds of clients facing charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. You can read more about possible outcomes [here].

Our office has handled many violent offences and domestic related cases.  We have been retained for domestic cases that have seemed extremely challenging and complicated, and have managed to obtain favourable outcomes in a tremendous number of situations.