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Manhattan Escape Defense Attorney

Defense Against Escape Charges in NY

Escape accusations can be devastating to a person for various reasons. Contacting a New York City escape crime lawyer is imperative anytime a person is accused of Escape. At the Law Office of John Buza, PC, our lead attorney is a former Manhattan prosecutor with experience litigating these cases from both sides. Call us today at (212) 577-9328 for a free consultation.

Definition of “Escape” in New York

It doesn't take a law degree to understand the legal doctrine of Escape. If a person is in custody and he escapes, then he is guilty of Escape. While this is pretty easy to understand, some of the words used in the Escape statute carry precise legal definitions.

Escape definitions:

  • "Custody" means "restraint by a public servant to an authorized arrest or an order of a court."
  • “Public servant" means "any public officer or employee of the state (or any political subdivision thereof or of any governmental instrumentality of the state)."
  • “Escape” means "to get away, break away, or get free or get clear, with the conscious purpose to evade custody."

A key point to remember is that in the context of an arrest, it must be "authorized." An arrest is "authorized" when the public servant who is effecting the arrest has reasonable cause to believe that the arrested person committed a crime. An officer has reasonable cause to believe that a person committed a crime when there is objective evidence that leads him to conclude that it is more likely than not that the person committed the crime. New York's Escape laws are codified in Penal Code sections 205.05, 205.10, and 205.15.

Types of Escape Charges

  • Escape in the Third Degree is the most basic form of this charge. This is a class A misdemeanor. A person guilty of a class A misdemeanor may be sentenced to up to one year in jail. A person is guilty of this any time he escapes from custody as those terms are defined above.
  • Escape in the Second Degree, a class E felony and punishable by up to 4 years in prison. A person of guilty of this when he or she either:
    • (i) escapes from a "detention facility"
    • (ii) escapes from custody and is accused of either a class C, D, or E felony
    • (iii) is a "Youthful Offender" convicted of a felony and he escapes.
  • Escape in the First Degree, a class D felony and punishable by up to 7 years in prison when he or she either:
    • (i) is convicted of a felony and escapes from a detention facility
    • (ii) is currently charged with a class A or B felony and he escapes
    • (iii) escapes from a detention facility after having been adjudicated a "Youthful Offender"

These sentences can run consecutive (meaning in addition) to whatever sentence the person is serving (or may serve if not yet convicted) from which the person escaped.

Escape is a serious crime and conviction can have numerous collateral consequences. Contact Manhattan escape defense attorney John Buza for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused of this crime.


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