False imprisonment or unlawful imprisonment occurs when a person intentionally restricts another person's movement within any area without legal authority, justification, or the restrained person's permission. Actual physical restraint is not necessary for false imprisonment to occur. A false imprisonment claim may be made based upon private acts, or upon wrongful governmental detention. For detention by the police, proof of false imprisonment provides a basis to obtain a writ of habeas corpus.
Under common law, false imprisonment is both a crime and a tort.