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The Crime of Escape in California


Escape is a very interesting term, because when we think about escape we think about somebody who is either in jail or prison and somehow they figure out a way to tunnel out or escape like you saw in Alcatraz in the famous movies.  The crime of escape is covered under California Penal Code 4532. But it’s interesting in LA county.

Some of the escape cases I see relate to people who get jail time and then they’re let out on some program and then they don’t follow through and do what they’re supposed to on the program or maybe they leave the program when they’re not supposed to.

The next thing you know, they’re being charged with escape, which is crazy because it’s a very serious crime with a negative connotation.  The person is now potentially looking at prison and it’s probably not a good custody sense if they get hit with an escape conviction because the sheriff’s will see that and they’re probably going to treat the person worse or more harshly because they’re going to perceive that they escaped from one of their facilities.

Different Forms of Escape

So, if you’re charged with escape and it’s under one of these weird situations where you’re doing some program instead of custody time or they’ve got some sort of an angle that they’re using to try to claim that you escaped, but the reality is, you didn’t escape from anything and you just had some issues completing what you were supposed to and didn’t go about it the right way.Crime of Escape in California Penal Code 4532

For example, it would be weird if let’ say you’ve got a year in the county jail and went in to surrender for your sentence and then you got out on some sort of work release program that the sheriffs put on, then you messed up and didn’t do your work release program, the sheriffs will count that as an escape.

I mean if you can’t do it for some reason then you probably want to either go back to the sheriffs and tell them which you probably realized would subject you to going back into custody, or you would have to go back into court and let them know, but they would be all confused as to how to deal with you because they already sentenced you to the year in the county jail.

So, a lot of these escape cases are, in my opinion, wrongfully filed, but a lot of times the sheriffs and the authorities just don’t know exactly how to handle them when somebody who’s supposed to be serving a custody sentence somehow gets out on some program and then doesn’t follow through on exactly what they’re supposed to do.

So, there may be some defenses in these escape cases because the person doesn’t realize that if they don’t follow through on what they’re supposed to, then they could be charged with escape, so there may be some intent issues related to that.

Sometimes, maybe when the sheriffs have you sign out to do a work release or other program, maybe it says in the paperwork that if you leave you’re going to be eventually arrested.  They’ll be an award out for your arrest and you’ll end up being charged with escape.  That might be a way to get that intent in there.

Retain a Criminal Defense Attorney

If on the other and, you’re looking at this website because you’re really charged with escaping from a facility, obviously you’re going to want to get an criminal defense attorney immediately, because once they catch you, they’re going to likely be looking at putting you in for a long time.

Whatever time you end up doing in that prison sentence is probably not going to be pleasant time, because unfortunately, the authorities in these criminal cases can see what you were convicted of.

They may not be able to see all of the details of it, but if you’re convicted of escape in Los Angeles county or any of the counties throughout the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that the authorities — either the Department of Corrections or the Sheriff’s Department are going to be looking at you with a bad eye and your time that you’re serving is not going to be pleasant times at all.

There’s programs like the shoe program.  There’s solitary confinement.  There’s all different types of custody that you can serve that just make your time away from your family very unpleasant.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.