North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-43.3: Felonious Restraint

According to the North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-43.3, a felonious restraint crime occurs when an individual unlawfully restrains another person without their proper consent and then moves the victim from the location of initial restraint by transporting the victim in a vehicle or other form of transportation.
In North Carolina, felonious restraint does share specific similarities to kidnapping charges and is also considered a felony. A lesser included offense of felonious restraint is false imprisonment. Even though it’s a “lesser” offense, it’s also serious and can result in long-term consequences that can impact your future. If you’ve been charged with felonious restraint, it’s vital that you speak with an experienced criminal law attorney in North Carolina.

How to Prove a Felonious Restraint Charge

For the State of North Carolina to prove a charge that falls under Chapter 14-43.3, it must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements to a jury or judge:

  • The Defendant unlawfully and intentionally restrained an individual
  • The event either occurred without that individual’s consent or the individual was yet 16 years old, and the Defendant restrained them without the consent of their parent or legal custodian or guardian
  • The Defendant moved the individual from the location of initial restrain by transporting them in a vehicle or other form of transportation

If the Defendant contests the fact that they indeed transported the individual, it’s proper for a judge to give the jury the pattern instruction for false imprisonment.

Examples of Felonious Restraint

Example one: A man kidnaps a woman. He then ties her up with rope in the basement of his home and threatens to hurt her if she attempts to get away. Since the woman is being restrained intentionally and unlawfully and is threatened with serious bodily harm, it’s a felonious restraint crime.

Example two: A restaurant owner makes their workers work long hours without pay and threatens to hurt them if they attempt to leave. Since the workers are being held by the restaurant owner in involuntary servitude, it’s a felonious restraint crime.

Both are examples of felonious restraint since they involve the unlawful restraint of another individual in a manner that holds them against their will and puts them in danger. These are both illegal actions and can lead to severe consequences for the perpetrator.

Differences Between Felonious Restraint and Kidnapping

While felonious restraint is similar to kidnapping, it’s a different type of crime that’s punished less harshly in North Carolina. The primary difference is the purpose of the restraint. Kidnapping, under N.C.G.S. 14.39, is committed by unlawfully restraining, confining, and moving an individual from one location to another without their consent, or for those under 16 years of age, without the consent of their parent or legal custodian. Along with this, one of the following needs to be the purpose of the kidnapping:

  • Using the individual as a shield
  • Holding the individual for ransom
  • Keeping the individual in involuntary servitude
  • Terrorizing the individual or inflicting severe bodily harm on them
  • Facilitating the flight of an individual after a felony or commission of a felony is committed
  • Subjecting the individual to human trafficking
  • Subjecting or maintaining the individual for sexual servitude

Felonious restraint is punishable under a Class F felony and will be sentenced based on the felony sentencing guidelines of North Carolina State. While 33-59 months in prison is the maximum sentence for this crime, a Defendant with a prior record level 1 that’s been sentenced in the presumptive range may be looking at 13-29 months in prison.

Kidnapping penalties are much more severe than those for felonious restraint. Kidnapping is punishable as a Class C or Class E felony and would include a sentence of 15 to 63 months in prison for a Class E felony and 44 to 182 months in prison for a Class C felony if convicted.

What About False Imprisonment? 

Felonious restraint is different than false imprisonment, which in North Carolina is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and comes with a maximum 120-day imprisonment sentence. In NC, false imprisonment is the unlawful restrain or detainment of an individual without their consent. Unlike felonious restraint, there doesn’t need to be any “transporting of the alleged victim” involvement. Both crimes can involve either constructive force or actual physical force.


If you have been charged in North Carolina for a crime, whether it’s false imprisonment, felonious restraint, or other criminal charges, contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Why Hire an Experienced NC Criminal Law Lawyer if You’re Facing Felonious Restraint Charges?

It’s strongly recommended you talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away if you’ve been charged with felonious restraint. Felonious restraint is considered by law to be a very serious crime and violent felony that can result in substantial prison time if you’re convicted or plead guilty.

Don’t speak with family, friends, or law enforcement about the criminal allegations or accusations. This is regardless of whether you’re arrested or not or formally charged. Don’t answer any questions or provide any statements. Remaining silent is your right. If you’re subject to an interrogation or are in custody, Miranda Rights may apply.

Any voluntary statements you provide can and may be used against you in specific situations. Miranda Rights typically don’t apply to “non-custodial” questioning. A skilled criminal defense attorney in North Carolina will consult with you about your legal rights if you’re facing criminal charges.

Call Upon the Help of the Experienced NC Criminal Defense Attorneys at King Law

The legal team at King Law has the knowledge and experience to help anyone facing allegations of misdemeanor, felony, or other criminal charges. 

If you’re facing criminal charges of felonious restraint, don’t hesitate to reach out and speak with our experienced criminal defense lawyers in North Carolina. Call us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING to arrange a consultation. Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form.