Knoxville Prison Escape Lawyer

Escape From a Penal Institution

If you have been accused of escape from a penal institution, you are facing charges that can affect you for the rest of your life.

The legal choices you make at the beginning of your case can be the most important, especially your choice of an attorney. Our firm has successfully handled many criminal defense cases in Tennessee. Our dynamic Tennessee criminal defense lawyers can help you through what could be a defining point in your life. With so much at stake, do not settle for an inexperienced defense lawyer. As skilled negotiators, we will do everything in our power to defend your rights and work toward the best possible outcome.

Escape from a Penal Institution in Tennessee

When people think of the crime of escape, they often think of the classic escape from Alcatraz scenario. The crime, however, is broader than that. Not only is it a crime for someone to escape from jail or prison while serving a long sentence, it is also a crime of escape to leave the custody of a law enforcement officer while being detained in a jail after a lawful arrest.

It is not necessary for the State to prove the charges for which the defendant was being held or to even state what the felony charges were. Similarly, you do not have to be convicted of a crime to be charged with the separate offense of escape. Likewise, a person held in a county jail while awaiting sentencing on federal charges may be held criminally liable for any attempt to escape from custody. The crime of escape also includes failure to return to custody following temporary leave.

Thus, under T.C.A. 39-16-605, it is a crime for any person arrested for, charged with, or convicted of an offense to escape from a penal institution. To be found guilty of this crime, the State must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you escaped
  • from a penal institution
  • while under arrest for, charged with, or convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, and
  • that you acted intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.

Escape means an unauthorized departure from the custody of a law enforcement officer or failure to return to custody following temporary leave. The definition does not include a violation of conditions of probation or parole. A "penal institution" under the law includes any institution or facility used to house or detain a person convicted of a crime, deemed delinquent by a court, or who is in direct, or indirect, custody after a lawful arrest.

Penalties and Consequences for Escape

Whether the escape offense is classified as a misdemeanor or felony is dependent on the classification of the underlying crime that you were arrested for, charged with, or convicted of. Thus, if you were arrested for aggravated assault (a felony) and subsequently attempted to escape while in the custody of a law enforcement officer while being housed in a local jail, the state could then charge you with felony escape.

If the underlying crime was a misdemeanor, a charge of escape is a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A conviction carries a prison sentence of no more than a year and no less than a $2,500 fine. On the other hand, if the underlying crime was a felony, a charge of escape is a Class E felony. A prison sentence for a class E felony is between one and six years and carries no more than a $3,000 fine. Notwithstanding the classification of the crime, penalties may include supervised release and/or probation.

By law, courts are directed to order the sentence to be served consecutively (or, added on) to the sentence already being served or sentence received for the charge for which the person was being held at the time of the escape.

Protecting the Rights of Our Clients

There are complex and difficult evidentiary and legal issues involved in trying and defending escape cases in Tennessee. Consequently, you will want an experienced attorney who can competently defend you against these charges.

By engaging in fierce representation and investigation into the legal issues of your case, our lawyers will mount a strong defense against an escape charge. Do not put your case and quality of life at risk by making the wrong legal choices. Discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at our offices.

If you have been charged with escaping a penal institution, contact a lawyer at our offices by completing the form below.






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Knox County
2126 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37929

Phone: (865) 521-0001
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Sevier County
121 Court Avenue
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862

Phone: (865) 546-6000
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Washington County
300 East Main Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601

Knoxville Facilitating Escape Attorney Disclaimer: The prison escape or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a lawyer at our law firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Tennessee.


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