The Crime of Escape and Other Charges in Pennsylvania

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When facing any charges, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn your rights and options. Our lawyers handle the defense of most crimes, including escape. Below you will find the actual text of the Pennsylvania statute governing escape charges in Pennsylvania. This was current as of July 2010. Our Pittsburgh criminal defense law firm is primarily in the business of fighting for defendants’ rights; we are not in the business of updating websites, but wanted to at least give you some information for educational purposes, only. You should talk to a lawyer for legal advice to fully learn your rights in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties. We will explain to you the escape-related crime, possible punishment, and all your options.

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5121. Escape
(a) ESCAPE. –A person commits an offense if he unlawfully removes himself from official detention or fails to return to official detention following temporary leave granted for a specific purpose or limited period.

(b) PERMITTING OR FACILITATING ESCAPE. –A public servant concerned in detention commits an offense if he knowingly or recklessly permits an escape. Any person who knowingly causes or facilitates an escape commits an offense.

(c) EFFECT OF LEGAL IRREGULARITY IN DETENTION. –Irregularity in bringing about or maintaining detention, or lack of jurisdiction of the committing or detaining authority, shall not be a defense to prosecution under this section.

(d) GRADING. —

(1) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree where:

(i) the actor was under arrest for or detained on a charge of felony or following conviction of crime;

(ii) the actor employs force, threat, deadly weapon or other dangerous instrumentality to effect the escape; or

(iii) a public servant concerned in detention of persons convicted of crime intentionally facilitates or permits an escape from a detention facility.

(2) Otherwise an offense under this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

(e) DEFINITION. –As used in this section the phrase “official detention” means arrest, detention in any facility for custody of persons under charge or conviction of crime or alleged or found to be delinquent, detention for extradition or deportation, or any other detention for law enforcement purposes; but the phrase does not include supervision of probation or parole, or constraint incidental to release on bail.


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