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The Crime of Escape From a Colorado Community Corrections Program

By Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg – Defense of Colorado Escape Crimes

In Colorado – under the law – CRS 17-27-106 – an individual can be charged with escape from a community corrections program if:

  1. He/she fails to remain within the extended limits of the offenders confinement or placement or fails to return within the time limits to any community corrections program to which the offender was assigned or transferred or
  2. if any offender who participates in a program established under the law and leaves the offenders place of employment…

Here is the statute:

17-27-106. Escape from custody from a community corrections program.

    1. If an offender fails to remain within the extended limits of such offender’s confinement or placement or fails to return within the time prescribed to any community corrections program to which such offender was assigned or transferred or if any offender who participates in a program established under the provisions of this article leaves such offender’s place of employment or, having been ordered by the executive director of the department of corrections or the chief probation officer of the judicial district to return to the community corrections program, neglects or fails to do so, such offender shall be deemed to have escaped from custody and shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as provided in section 18-8-208, C.R.S., and all reductions in sentence authorized by part 2 of article 22.5 of this title shall be forfeited.
      1. In addition to the forfeiture of all reductions in sentence authorized by part 2 of article 22.5 of this title, any person convicted of escape from custody from a community correction program in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) shall also forfeit all reductions in sentence authorized by section 18-1.3-301 (1) (i), C.R.S.
    2. In addition to the forfeiture of all reductions in sentence authorized by part 2 of article 22.5 of this title, any person convicted of escape from custody from a community correction program in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) shall also forfeit all reductions in sentence authorized by section 18-1.3-301 (1) (i), C.R.S.

Leaving a community corrections facility without authorization constitutes escape under 18-8-208 because offender is still in custody and subject to the authority of the court. People v. Brown, 695 P.2d 776 (Colo. App. 1984)

A Person who absconds from a non-residential community corrections placement commits the crime of escape in violation of this section and˜ 18-8-208. By its plain language, the section applies to all types of community corrections placements, including non-residential community corrections programs. People v. Forester, 1 P.3d 758 (Colo. App. 2000).

Colorado Criminal Penalties and Sentencing for Escape:

The degree of escape dependent on degree of original crime. The law establishes a standard whereby the seriousness of the crime of escape is determined by classification of the original crime for which the defendant was in custody or confinement.

CRS 18-8-208 – A person under confinement for and knowingly escapes from custody on the following classes:

The Offender will be charged with the following crime

A Class 1 or Class 2 Felony

Class 2 Felony Escape

Other than a Class 1 or Class 2 Felony

Class 3 Felony Escape

Held or Charged but not convicted of a felony

Class 4 Felony Escape

Misdemeanor or Petty Offense

Class 3 Misdemeanor Escape

If the Person Commits an Assault during the escape.

The Charge

Class 1 Felony

Class 1 Felony

A Felony other than a Class 1 Felony

Class 2 Felony

Held or Charged but not convicted of a felony

Class 3 Felony

Misdemeanor or petty offense

Class 3 Misdemeanor

If the person Attempts to Escape – but is unsuccessful.

The Charge

Any Felony Conviction

Class 4 Felony

Held or Charged but not convicted of a felony

Class 5 Felony

Misdemeanor or Petty Offense

Misdemeanor – and not less than six months in jail.

18-8-208. Escapes
  1. A person commits a class 2 felony if, while being in custody or confinement following conviction of a class 1 or class 2 felony, he knowingly escapes from said custody or confinement.
  2. A person commits a class 3 felony if, while being in custody or confinement following conviction of a felony other than a class 1 or class 2 felony, he knowingly escapes from said custody or confinement.
  3. A person commits a class 4 felony if, while being in custody or confinement and held for or charged with but not convicted of a felony, he knowingly escapes from said custody or confinement.
  4. A person commits a class 3 misdemeanor if, while being in custody or confinement following conviction of a misdemeanor or petty offense or a violation of a municipal ordinance, he or she knowingly escapes from said place of custody or confinement.
  5. A person commits a class 1 petty offense if, while being in custody or confinement and held for or charged with but not convicted of a misdemeanor or petty offense or violation of a municipal ordinance, he or she knowingly escapes from said custody or confinement.
  6. A person who knowingly escapes confinement while being confined pursuant to a commitment under article 8 of title 16, C.R.S.:
    1. Commits a class 1 misdemeanor if the person had been charged with a misdemeanor at the proceeding in which the person was committed;
    2. Commits a class 1 misdemeanor if the person had been charged with a felony at the proceeding in which the person was committed, if in the escape the person does not travel from the state of Colorado;
    3. Commits a class 5 felony if the person had been charged with a felony at the proceeding in which the person was committed, if in the escape the person travels outside of the state of Colorado.
  7. In a prosecution for an offense under subsection (6) of this section, it shall be a defense for any person who, while being confined pursuant to a commitment under article 8 of title 16, C.R.S., escapes and who voluntarily returns to the place of confinement.
  8. A person commits a class 5 felony if he knowingly escapes while in custody or confinement pursuant to the provisions of article 19 of title 16, C.R.S.
  9. The minimum sentences provided by sections 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-501, and 18-1.3-503, respectively, for violation of the provisions of this section shall be mandatory, and the court shall not grant probation or a suspended sentence, in whole or in part; except that the court may grant a suspended sentence if the court is sentencing a person to the youthful offender system pursuant to section 18-1.3-407.
  10. Any person held in a staff secure facility, as defined in section 19-1-103 (101.5), C.R.S., shall be deemed to be in custody or confinement for purposes of this section.

The fundamental purpose of the escape statute is to prevent the evasion of the due course of justice.

The purpose of the felonious escape statute is to deter and punish an escape while a defendant is being held for another felony.

Escape definition. An escape is the voluntary departure from lawful custody by a prisoner with the intent to evade the due course of justice.

The very word “escape” connotes an attitude of mind as well as an act. One does not “escape” without desire and intent to avoid confinement.

Under Colorado law, “escape” is defined as the voluntary departure from lawful custody by a prisoner with the intent to evade the due course of justice.

Escape is crime of general, not specific, intent, consisting of following essential elements:

  1. A voluntary act;
  2. which constitutes a departure from one of the forms of lawful custody or confinement specified in this section;
  3. by a prisoner; and
  4. committed “knowingly”, i.e., with an awareness on the part of the prisoner that his or her conduct is of the nature proscribed. Mandatory parolees are “in custody” for purposes of application of this section.
Some Additional Law in Escape Cases

A person is not “in custody” until an arrest, in the sense of establishing physical control over the arrestee, has been effected.

Physical control does not necessarily require physical restraint; the officer’s presence and the suspect’s submission in concert may be sufficient to establish the assurance, requisite to a determination of physical control, that the suspect will not leave.

Evidence of a prior conviction is an essential element of the crime of escape after conviction. One of the essential elements of escape by a felon is that the defendant has either been convicted of a felony or that he has pled guilty to a felony. A conviction under this section requires evidence that the defendant was convicted of and is being held for a felony.

Evidence of prior conviction. If it be shown that an individual is the person held under a particular mittimus for the commission of a felony, the requirement of this section is necessarily fulfilled.

An escape by a prisoner being held for extradition does not constitute the crime of escape as that offense is defined in this section.

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