A couple of weeks ago a cab driver refused to let me out of his cab. In the aftermath of that incident, I went to look up the laws in Massachusetts on false imprisonment and could not find any law against it. I know that in some states false imprisonment is a felony, but I could not find any Massachusetts statute making it a crime.

Am I missing something or is false imprisonment not a crime in Massachusetts?

  • On what basis was he refusing to let you out? Here is the only thing I can find that may pertain to this, but whether it was or not depends on if the driver had reasonable suspicion that you were defrauding him.
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 16, 2018 at 21:09
  • @RonBeyer It does not matter. There is no scenario where imprisoning someone in a cab or refusing to let them out should be legal. There is an answer to the question already that makes clear that forcible imprisonment is a felony.
    – Cicero
    Oct 16, 2018 at 21:29
  • It does matter though because if you didn't pay, the merchant (cab driver) has a right to detain you. That is what the statute I linked to says, as a defense to the statute in the answer. So yes, it is legal for any merchant to detain somebody who is trying to defraud them, otherwise malls couldn't have security guards with that right.
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 16, 2018 at 21:32
  • @RonBeyer The exception that you linked only applies to storekeepers and innkeepers and specifically allows arresting people only for shoplifting or for trying to leave a hotel without paying after specifically "putting up", meaning signed into the hotel. If you are trying to suggest that it is ok or legal for a cab to drive off or put a cab into motion with an unwilling passenger inside, I think you will find zero legislative support for that idea. In the UK, for example, they have very strict laws forbidding such things and cab drivers there have been sent to prison for capturing passengers.
    – Cicero
    Oct 16, 2018 at 22:08
  • 1
    Perhaps you should modify your question to specify that the cab driver refused to let you out AND DROVE with you still in the cab. Your comment suggests that this is what happened, but @RonBeyer had no way of knowing that when he wrote his comment. I don't know if that detail changes the legality or not.
    – James
    Oct 17, 2018 at 11:27

1 Answer 1


As in some other jurisdictions, what most people think of as "false imprisonment" is categorized as kidnapping in Massachusetts, codified at Chapter 265, Section 26:

Whoever, without lawful authority, forcibly or secretly confines or imprisons another person within this commonwealth against his will, or forcibly carries or sends such person out of this commonwealth, or forcibly seizes and confines or inveigles or kidnaps another person, with intent either to cause him to be secretly confined or imprisoned in this commonwealth against his will, or to cause him to be sent out of this commonwealth against his will or in any way held to service against his will, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. Whoever commits any offence described in this section with the intent to extort money or other valuable thing thereby shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life or for any term of years.

Separate from the criminal offense, Massachusetts courts also recognize civil actions for false imprisonment.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .