In California, what is the amount of jail time given for a felony false imprisonment conviction in a guilty plea from rape charges?

I’m asking in general and I am also interest in knowing how often no jail time would be imposed in a sentence for felony false imprisonment in this situation.

  • 1
    I doubt there's any way to answer your questions--too many factors (do you already have a criminal record? For similar offenses? There are things that can make an increase of penalties more likely like victim is elderly or a dependent, etc. Ask a lawyer.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Apr 16 at 15:38
  • 1
    The first sentence is also missing some operative words it seems, making it undecyferable what you mean.
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 16 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


The crime of false imprisonment in California is set forth in California Penal Code § 236.

Many violations of California Penal Code Section 236 are charged as misdemeanors. The potential penalties include:

  • custody in county jail for up to one year, and/or

  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

A prosecutor could charge the crime as a felony if you restrained someone while using

  • violence,

  • menace,

  • fraud or

  • deceit.

Felony false imprisonment is punishable by up to three years in jail.


Whether or not someone who pleas guilty to felony false imprisonment would actually serve jail time depends on factors whose existence can't be determined from the question. If it was a plea down from rape charges, it is likely that a non-minimal jail sentence would be imposed. But again, it is hard to know the offender specific and offense specific factors that would be considered in any particular case.

Rape is defined in California in California Penal Code § 261 and additional details about the offense are found in the following statutory sections of the California Penal Code. California's triad sentencing scheme doesn't really clearly match up to the idea of a "4 Felony Rape" which isn't really terminology that makes sense in the context of California's criminal sentencing scheme.

Rape and spousal rape are generally punished by 3, 6, or 8 years in prison. If the victim is under 14 at the time of the alleged crime, the penalty is increased to 9, 11, or 13 years. If the victim was 15, 16, or 17, the penalties are 7, 9, or 11 years in prison. . . .

Suspended sentences are not available for every type of crime, and many sexual offenses are excluded from this type of sentencing. However, Penal Code 261.5 specifically authorizes suspended sentencing for statutory rape.

In many rape cases charged under Penal Code 261, judges will not consider a suspended sentence. This means that you will face either 3, 6, or 8 years in prison (or higher penalties if your crime involves a child).


One key difference between "false imprisonment" and "rape" as offenses, even if the length of the sentence of incarceration isn't that different, however, is that a false imprisonment sentence does not lead to your lifetime classification as a sex offender, while a rape conviction would have that collateral effect.

A plea to false imprisonment from a rape charge would typically be done to avoid a sex offender classification, rather than to avoid significant incarceration for the offense. The fact that it is still a felony means that there would be significant collateral consequences to the conviction in any case, but the prosecutor would be offering a little bit a mercy by preventing sex offender classification with can be completely life destroying for a convicted felon, even after relief, to a much greater extent than a felony conviction alone.

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