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Woman faces unlawful imprisonment charges in domestic incident

When domestic violence erupts, one wrong move can quickly make a bad situation worse.

A woman in Honolulu is learning this the hard way after she was arrested following an incident of domestic violence with her significant other. In the heat of the fight, the woman turned what might have been a simple assault charge into a charge of unlawful imprisonment by locking her girlfriend in a storage unit and breaking the other woman's phone to keep her from calling for help.

Many people are unaware of how the law interprets certain acts that can easily happen in the middle of a verbal or physical altercation -- and the act doesn't have to be as drastic (or as obvious) as locking someone in a storage unit in order to count. Essentially, anything you do that intentionally restricts another person's ability to move freely can be considered unlawful imprisonment.

For example, imagine that you're fighting with your boyfriend in the car and he tells you to pull over and let him out. If you refuse, that can be considered unlawful imprisonment. Similarly, imagine that you and your girlfriend are in a heated dispute at home. Your girlfriend picks up her car keys and starts to leave. Determined to see the argument to its end, you block her path and refuse to let her out the door. That can also be considered unlawful imprisonment.

An unlawful imprisonment charge is much more difficult to defend than a simple abuse or battery charge -- especially if there's very little evidence of the abuse. In this case, for example, the victim suffered only a minor scratch -- which could have happened in a number of different ways. However, the defendant let her temper get the best of her when she shut the door to the storage unit -- which likely makes for a much more difficult defense.

For more information on domestic abuse and related issues, talk to a criminal defense attorney today.

Source: Hawaii News Now, "Woman accused of locking another woman in storage unit, breaking cell phone," HNN Staff, July 17, 2017

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