Unlawful Flight Offenses

It is unlawful to flee to avoid custody or confinement, flight warrants, to avoid giving testimony, or to avoid service of process. The penalties associated therewith vary in duration and severity.

Unlawful Flight to Avoid Custody or Confinement After Conviction

Where a convicted inmate flees from a state jail, prison, or on conditional release, the inmate may be guilty of unlawful flight. The prosecution must show that the flight was for the purpose of avoiding custody or confinement. If the inmate fled when he was on a conditional release, the prosecution must establish that the inmate knew or believed that his conditional release was revoked.

Unlawful Flight to Avoid Giving Testimony

It is a crime for an individual to flee to avoid giving testimony. The majority of states have adopted the Uniform Act to Secure the Return of Witnesses from a state. Under the Act, the state should exhaust all existing remedies for securing the return of the witness before asking for federal assistance.

Unlawful Flight to Avoid Service of Process

The crime of unlawful flight to avoid service of process is a crime under the Fugitive Felon Act. If an individual attempts to flee the state or jurisdiction where service of process would ordinarily be made, the individual may be charged with this offense. Additionally, it is a crime under the Act to avoid producing documents if requested as well.

Unlawful Flight Warrants and Post Arrest Procedures

In accordance with the federal rules of criminal procedure, after an officer arrests an individual on an unlawful flight warrant, the officer is required to take the individual to the nearest available magistrate. However, the officer is not required to immediately take the individual to a magistrate if the officer directly transports the individual without any unnecessary delay to the nearest authorities.

Copyright 2009 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.