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Unlawful Detention

Unlawful detention, also known as false imprisonment in some places, under Utah law is defined as a person, without legal authority, restraining or detaining an individual against his or her will.

While the definition seems clear at first glance, what constitutes “detention” might surprise most people. For the purposes of § 76-5-304, restraint could be something as simple as grabbing a person’s arm or preventing him or her from leaving a room.

Unlawful detention is often confused with kidnapping in Utah. Those crimes, however, are distinctly different. Moreover, the Unlawful Detention Statute states that a violation of § 76-5-304 is separate and the circumstances surrounding it should not constitute a violation of kidnapping, found in § 76-5-301.

Attorney for Unlawful Detention in Salt Lake County, UT

If you or someone you know has been charged with unlawful detention of an individual or the unlawful detention of a minor, contact Susanne Gustin.

Susanne Gustin is an experienced criminal defense attorney with more than twenty-six years practicing law. She has handled several types of violent crimes including sexual assault, human trafficking, and assault and battery.

She takes cases throughout Salt Lake County, and in the surrounding areas like, Toole County, Utah County, Summit County, Weber County, and Davis County, Utah.

Call (801) 243-2814 or submit an evaluation form to schedule a free consultation with Susanne Gustin.


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Information on Unlawful Dentention in Utah


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Elements of Unlawful Detention under § 76-6-304

To convict an individual of unlawful detention in violation of § 76-5-304, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Being convicted of unlawful detention is a serious offense in Utah, however, the unlawful detention of a minor is subject to enhanced consequences under Utah law.


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Elements of Unlawful Detention of  Minor

Under § 76-5-304 of the Utah Criminal Code, an individual may also be convicted of the unlawful detention of minor, if the prosecutor proves the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

Utah law defines “against the will of the victim” in the context of the unlawful detention of a minor as acting without the consent of the legal guardian or custodian.

Moreover, for the purposes of this Statute, a victim that qualifies under § 76-5-301(2) is any of the following;


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Penalties for a Unlawful Detention Conviction

In Utah, the unlawful detention of a person or minor is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. Under Utah law, class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and up to $1,000 fines.

Similar Claims

There are multiple types of claims, both civil and criminal that are very similar to unlawful detention.

Kidnapping – § 76-5-301 – involves unlawfully restraining an individual against his or her will. Where unlawful detention is a Class B misdemeanor offense, kidnapping is a felony. Moreover, unlawful detention is a lesser-included offense of kidnapping.

Wrongful arrest – § 76-6-604 – involves a law enforcement officer or authorized retailer detaining a person against his or her will under the belief of some wrongdoing. Wrongful arrest under Utah law may subject a person to civil liability.


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Additional Resources

§ 76-5-304 Unlawful Detention – Visit the official website of the Utah Legislature for the full statutory language associated with the unlawful detention and the unlawful detention of a minor.


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Find an Attorney for Unlawful Detention in Salt Lake County, UT

If you or someone you know has been accused of unlawfully detaining a person or a minor against his or her will, then contact Attorney Susanne Gustin.

Susanne Gustin has practiced criminal defense in Salt Lake City, Utah, for years and understands the ins-and-outs of litigation in Salt Lake County courtrooms. Speaking with an experienced attorney before talking to law enforcement in any criminal investigation is imperative.

She take cases throughout Salt Lake Valley, in areas like Toole County, Weber County, Utah County, Wasatch County, Summit County, and Dame County, Utah.

Call (801) 243-2814 or submit an online evaluation to learn more about what we can do to help your case.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, August 30, 2017.