The Charge

It is a criminal offence to confine, forcibly seize, of imprison another person without lawful authority. This charge could be described as a “kidnapping-related” offence and is an extremely serious charge.

This offence simply involves depriving someone of the freedom to move from one place to another. Unlike kidnapping, the victim does not need to have been carried away from one place to another for this charge to be made out.

Periods of very brief confinement can make out this charge. It is also important to know that the charge can still be made out even if the person who was allegedly confined, seized, or imprisoned did not resist.

This charge arises in two common scenarios, and is often accompanied by other charges, such as breaking and entering, theft, robbery, or assault:

  1. In the context of a romantic relationship, the alleged victim is locked or otherwise held in a bathroom or bedroom for a period of time as a result of a fight or argument.
  2. In the context of a residential or commercial robbery, the homeowners or employees are restrained or locked in a room so the perpetrators can commit other crimes undisturbed (sexual assault, theft, etc.)


Due to the seriousness of this charge, the Crown and police will insist that you be kept in custody until your charges are dealt with by the court, especially if the alleged victim is or was your wife or girlfriend. That’s why you need Calgary Criminal Lawyers at this extremely important stage in the case. We will be able to make the best case for why you should be released while your charges wind their way through the court system. If we can secure your release, you can expect to be placed on some of the following conditions:

  • Have no contact, and do no go near, the alleged victim;
  • Have no contact with anyone else who you are alleged to have committed the offence with;
  • Do not possess any weapons;
  • Do not possess any drugs or alcohol;
  • Do not go near the place where you allegedly committed the offence;
  • Obey a curfew (if the offence allegedly happened at night)

The Defence

Calgary Criminal Lawyers start tour defence with a thorough review of all the evidence the prosecution has against you. Every witness and police statement, any surveillance video, and all other evidence will be reviewed with a keen eye for any gaps, inconsistences, or other problems with the Crown’s case. We also record your side of the story, and will present our legal findings along with your options. Our analysis may focus on one or more of the following common issues:

  • Would the alleged victim be able to identify you as the perpetrator?
  • Did you have a good reason for confining or restraining the person? Was he or she acting angrily or hysterically, to the point that you feared damage to yourself or your property?
  • If it is alleged that you helped somebody else commit this offence, did you or should you have known that they intended to do it?

The Sentence

The potential penalties are high. Forcible confinement is punishable by up to ten years in a federal penitentiary. In addition, a person convicted of this offence is required to submit a sample of their DNA to the national DNA database, and will be banned from possessing any firearms or related items for at least 10 years from the date of sentence.

Because this offence involves the domination of another person, and is often committed for the purpose of facilitating other offences, the Crown will seek a jail sentence in virtually every case. That makes the services of Calgary Criminal Lawyers a necessity when it comes to being sentenced.

In appropriate cases, we may be able to negotiate a resolution that may permit you to plead guilty to a less serious offence, or ensure that you do not go to jail. We will leverage our assessment of the strength of the case, and your personal circumstances and future prospects to ensure that the sentence is no higher than absolutely necessary.