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Escaping from Prison - California Penal Code PC 4532

Posted by Raoul Severo | Nov 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

On January 22, 2016, the news of an elaborate jailbreak by three Californian inmates spread like wildfire. Investigators revealed that, even with maximum security, the prisoners managed to cut through steel, rebar, and metal. For law enforcement, this was a mission impossible task; but for civilians hearing this news, it's a pretty big deal. It's not every day you get to hear a jailbreaking story in the news, which is why it's such a story. 

No matter how brilliant or simple the scheme was, escaping from prison is a serious offense in California. As stated in California Penal Code PC 4532, it is unlawful for a prisoner to escape or attempt to escape from the legal custody of a police officer or a detaining facility. 

A “prisoner” is not necessarily one who is behind bars. In fact, it involves anyone who:

  • Has been arrested and booked for, charged with, or convicted of a misdemeanor;
  • Has been arrested and booked for, charged with, or convicted of a felony;
  • Is confined in any county or city jail, prison, industrial farm, or industrial road camp;
  • Is engaged in any county work;
  • Is in the lawful custody of a police officer or another individual; or
  • A participant in a home detention program.

Examples

We are only scratching the surface of this law and there is more to discuss. However, we have provided some examples that violate PC 4532 for better understanding:

  • It has been 10 years since your father got locked up in jail for murdering his ex-wife. Coincidentally, it is also your first born's 1st birthday. Your father wanted to see his grandchild but he knew he could only do so by forcibly escaping his cell. So, he spent days cutting through steel bars. Unfortunately, the prison guard caught him in the act and he never made it to your child's birthday.
  • A 30-year-old man was mandated to wear an ankle-monitor after committing a felony. He was assigned to his father's house and he was only authorized to leave the place between 10am to 6pm. By 1pm, he left the house to hang out with his friends. Instead of going home before 6pm, he decided to sleep over at his friend's house.
  •  You have been temporarily detained in the county jail after receiving a warrant for your arrest. The officer who served the warrant explained that you will be appearing before the court for an attempted murder charge. You knew you would be proven guilty at trial but you didn't want to rot in jail either. So, you attacked the police officers guarding the establishment in hopes of escaping.

Related Offenses

There are a few offenses that are related to California Penal Code PC 4532, such as:

  • Rescuing a prisoner;
  • Resisting arrest;
  • Probation violations; and
  • Assaulting a police officer.

Penalties for Escaping from Jail Facility/Place of Confinement

As mentioned earlier, PC 4532 is quite a lengthy and detailed law with many exceptions and conditions. Let us discuss them one by one:

  • Every prisoner, who was initially convicted of a misdemeanor, who escapes from any county or city jail, prison, industrial farm, or the designated place of confinement is guilty of a felony where the punishments are either one year and one day sentence in state prison or not more than 1 year in county jail;
  • If the escape or attempt to escape described above involved force or violence, the fugitive is guilty of a felony and is punishable by either 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison or not more than 1 year in county jail;
  • Every prisoner, who was initially convicted of a felony, who escapes from any county or city jail, prison, industrial farm, or the designated place of confinement is guilty of a felony where the punishments are either 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years or not more than 1 year in county jail;
  • If the escape or attempt to escape described above involved force or violence, the fugitive is guilty of a felony and is punishable by either 2, 4, or 6 years in state prison or not more than 1 year in county jail;
  • A participant of a home detention program who willfully fails to return to his/her place of confinement before the scheduled period that he/she was authorized to leave shall not be charged as a prior felony offense. That is, given that there was no force or violence used.

The Law Offices of Raoul Severo Can Help You

As mentioned before, prison escape cases are very infrequent. Hence, if you're facing one, you're going to have a hard time finding a lawyer who has experienced handling a charge like it before. But don't worry, we are here to help you. Our team of exceptional criminal defense lawyers will explain everything you want to know, give you the best advice, and will fight for your rights whatever it takes. Give us a call now, we'll be more than happy to assist you.

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