Kidnap and False Imprisonment

Kidnapping and false imprisonment are very serious offences, with each carrying the potential for life imprisonment on conviction. If you have been arrested or charged in connection with one of these offences, getting specialist legal advice and representation straightaway is essential to make sure you have the strongest possible defence.

Our criminal defence solicitors have more than 40 years of experience helping clients facing these types of serious criminal charges. We can offer clear, effective guidance on your rights and defence options, making sure your case is built the right way from the start. We can also advise you before the point of arrest if you have concerns.

We know how confusing and upsetting it can be to deal with any types of criminal charges, especially where there is the potential for such a substantial sentence. By offering seasoned legal advice and sympathetic personal support, we hope to make this difficult time easier on you, while giving you the best chance of securing a favourable outcome.

Over the years, we have established an excellent track record for successfully unpicking cases against our clients, helping them to avoid criminal penalties wherever possible. We are often able to see cases dropped before they reach court and regularly achieve not guilty verdicts in court for even the most challenging cases. Where a conviction cannot be avoided, we will provide realistic guidance on your options for minimising any resulting criminal penalties.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of kidnap or false imprisonment, or have been charged with such an offence, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.

We can advise you in any language, with our team speaking a number of languages as well as working with various accredited interpreters. We are available 24/7 to provide immediate advice and representation for clients across England and Wales, so you can always get our expert legal support when you need it most.

For a free initial consultation on dealing with a charge of kidnap or false imprisonment, please contact our local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Need immediate legal support for a kidnap or false imprisonment arrest? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year using the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page.

Our expertise with kidnap and false imprisonment charges

With over 40 years of experience representing people accused of the most serious criminal offences, including kidnap and false imprisonment, we have a detailed understanding of how these charges work and what you need to do to build the strongest possible defence.

Our criminal defence lawyers will support you from your first contact with police and through every stage of investigation and any subsequent prosecution, making sure your defence is handled correctly every step of the way.

We have exceptional expertise in the various types of evidence used in these types of serious criminal cases, including forensics such as fingerprint and DNA analysis, digital evidence such as mobile phone records and text messages, and witness testimony. We can therefore ensure any flaws in the police or prosecution cases are exposed and that every available angle of defence is considered.

Our team have strong advocacy experience, as well as working with some of the UK’s leading criminal defence barristers specialising in kidnap and false imprisonment cases. This means that if your case were to go to trial, we will be able to give you the very best representation to help you secure the most favourable outcome available.

What to do if you are arrested for kidnap or false imprisonment

Should you be arrested on suspicion of kidnapping or false imprisonment, you must remember your legal rights at all times as this can help you to avoid the risk of saying or doing anything that could undermine your defence.

Any mistakes made at this early stage of proceedings can be extremely difficult to recover from later, so always keep in mind these four key points:

  1. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. Whether to do so or not requires a thorough understanding of your case and how the criminal justice system works. Legal advice should be taken before saying anything.
  2. You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
  3. You have the right to free legal representation.
  4. You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.

At the point of arrest, the arresting officers are required to let you know which specific offence or offences you are accused of committing. They must also caution you with the words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

After a police interview in connection to a suspected offence of kidnap or false imprisonment, the potential outcomes include:

  • Release with no further action
  • Release under investigation
  • Detention in custody
  • Charging with a specific offence

If you are charged with kidnap or false imprisonment:

  • A hearing date will be set
  • You will either be:
    • Released on bail
    • Kept in custody until your court hearing

Should you be released with no further action or under investigation, you need to be aware that you can be rearrested or summonsed to attend a court hearing at any time.

What are kidnapping and false imprisonment?

Kidnapping and false imprisonment are two separate common law offences, but they are often related.

Kidnapping involves a person (the kidnapper) taking or carrying away another person (the victim) either by force or by fraud, where the victim does not consent to being taken and the kidnapper has no lawful excuse for taking them.

False imprisonment involves

the unlawful and intentional or reckless restraint of a victim’s freedom of movement from a particular place.

In many cases, an offence of kidnapping will lead to an offence of false imprisonment, where the victim is confined or detained after being taken or moved by the kidnapper.

There exists a separate offence of child abduction, which may apply where the alleged victim is under 16.

This offence may apply where someone who is connected to the child, such as a parent, takes them out of the UK without proper consent from everyone with parental responsibility for the child (e.g. the child’s other parent/s).

A child abduction charge may also be used if someone not connected to a child under 16 unlawfully takes or detains that child.

Penalties for kidnap and false imprisonment

Kidnapping and false imprisonment are very serious offences that can only be dealt with in Crown Court. Both offences carry the same maximum potential penalty of life imprisonment.

Child abduction can be dealt with either in Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court depending on the seriousness of the offence. If the offence is dealt with in Magistrates’ Court, the maximum sentence on conviction is 6 months’ imprisonment. For Crown Court prosecutions, the maximum potential sentence is seven years’ imprisonment.

Sentencing for any of these offences will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The degree of planning involved
  • Use of violence
  • Vulnerability of the victim
  • Use of a weapon
  • Whether a ransom was involved
  • The number of offenders involved
  • Any other offences that were committed

What defence is there against charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment?

Your defence options will depend on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence or offences.

If you deny that an offence occurred, options may include showing that the kidnapping, false imprisonment or child abduction did not take place, that the alleged victim consented to going with you and/or staying with you, or that you had a legitimate reason for taking them.

If you accept that an offence occurred, it may be possible to mitigate any potential criminal penalties by showing that the offence was unplanned, that no threats or violence were used, that you played a limited role in the offence or that there were other factors limiting your culpability or the harm to the victim.

Our criminal defence solicitors have the experience with these types of serious offences to ensure every detail and possible angle of defence is properly explored, giving you the strongest chance of securing the best available outcome.

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about an arrest or charges related to kidnapping and/or false imprisonment, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

  • Brent & Camden London Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for kidnapping and false imprisonment charges

Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with an arrest or charges connected to kidnap and false imprisonment.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556.

This document does not constitute legal advice.


  • Philip Spicer
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  • Umar Zeb
      • Umar Zeb
      • Senior Partner - Head of Private Client Crime
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  • Lisa Nicol
      • Lisa Nicol
      • Senior Partner - Head of Crime & Serious Cases
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  • Kirit Khushal
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  • James O'Donnell
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  • Sanjay Cholera
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  • Edgar Fernando
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  • Barry Linnane
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  • Stuart Lloyd
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  • Dawhud Ullah
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For new serious cases you can email a senior partner/lawyer directly by clicking here. When you call us you can request a call back or meeting the same day with a senior partner/lawyer or Barrister.