Punishments awarded for an offense of false imprisonment depend on the relevant statute and other factors connected with the crime. Usually the sentence awarded will be proportionate to the gravity of an offense. Aggravating factors as well as mitigating factors will be considered along with the sentence provided in the relevant statute.
A trial court may enhance the basic penalties; impose consecutive sentences, or both, upon consideration of relevant facts and information. However, reasons have to be recorded when a trial court increases penalties or imposes consecutive sentences. A record must show that the punishment imposed was based upon the consideration of facts of the specific crime, the aggravating and mitigating factors involved, and the relation of the sentence granted to the objectives, which will be served by that sentence[i].
Evidence of a defendant’s prior criminal record may be admitted to show motive in a prosecution proceeding. But the fact that a defendant surrendered his/her hostages without any injury to them will entitle him/her to a reduction in sentence[ii].
Lengthy sentences may be imposed in appropriate cases. A sentence authorized by a statute will not be revised by a reviewing court except in cases where it appears very unreasonable in the nature of a crime and character of an offender[iii]. While examining the nature of a crime and character of an offender, a court may look to any factor on record. The burden is on the defendant to prove that his/her sentence is improper[iv].
A sentence may be constitutionally excessive if it is very uneven to the severity of the offense, even if it is within the statutory limits[v]. An aggregate concurrent term of sentence is not excessive when the term does not exceed the maximum term authorized for a severe offense. Where false imprisonment is insignificant compared to other offenses committed in the same incident, an increased sentence for false imprisonment other than that provided under a statute is excessive.
If a court imposes a punishment that the law does not permit, such sentence will be void. A trial court may resentence a defendant upon finding a sentence to be void[vi].
[i] Fointno v. State, 487 N.E.2d 140, 1986 Ind. LEXIS 991.
[ii] Beatty v. State, 567 N.E.2d 1134, 1991 Ind. LEXIS 37.
[iii] Beasley v. State, 507 N.E.2d 568, 1987 Ind. LEXIS 922.
[iv] Rich v. State, 890 N.E.2d 44 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008).
[v] State v. Rhea, 868 So. 2d 863 (La.App. 5 Cir. Feb. 23, 2004).
[vi] Reynolds v. State, 272 Ga. App. 91 (Ga. Ct. App. 2005).