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.
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. The term "custody" means "restraint by a public servant to an authorized arrest or an order of a court." The term "public servant" means "any public officer or employee of the state (or any political subdivision thereof or of any governmental instrumentality of the state)." The term "escape" itself 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 (or probable cause in other jurisdictions) 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.
There are three points of emphasis. One, the charge of Escape is a new charge that can be added to the already existing charges that landed the person in custody in the first place. Two, judges look very harshly on people who are accused of or have been convicted of Escape when determining whether to set bail on any case involving the person. Lastly, there are three degrees of Escape.
Escape, in its most basic form is Escape in the Third Degree. 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. A person is guilty of Escape in the Second Degree, a class E felony, when he either: (i) escapes from a "detention facility;" (ii) escapes from custody and is accused of either a class C, D, or E felony; or (iii) he is a "Youthful Offender" convicted of a felony and he escapes. A class E felony is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. A person is guilty of Escape in the First Degree, a class D felony, when he 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; or (iii) he escapes from a detention facility after having been adjudicated a "Youthful Offender." A class D felony is punishable by up to 7 years in prison. 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 John Buza for a free consultation if you, or a loved one, is accused of this crime.