Jefferson Memorial


Elements of Offense

There are two elements to the criminal offense of Escape in Washington, D.C.  First, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was:  (a) confined to a penal institution/facility or (b) in the lawful custody of a law enforcement officer.  Second, the prosecution must prove that the defendant escaped or attempted to escape from that confinement/custody.

“Escape” means to knowingly flee, depart from, or fail to return to confinement/custody without permission or authorization.  “Custody” means detention, confinement, or restriction of movement.

Escape could include the failure to return to a halfway house.  It could also include fleeing from a police officer after having been placed under arrest.   D.C. Criminal Code 22-2601(a).


Escape is a felony offense carrying a maximum fine of $75,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years.  If the person is an escaped prisoner (as opposed to someone fleeing the custody of a police officer), the sentence will be tacked onto the end of the original sentence.  D.C. Criminal Code 22-2601(b).  However, if the prisoner is someone failing to return from work release, the offense is a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for up to 180 days.  D.C. Code 24-241.05.