Escape, Prison Contraband Offenses, and Resisting Arrest

Article 205 of the Penal Law contains the provisions outlawing resisting arrest, escaping from jail or prison, or introducing prison contraband into such a facility. Generally speaking, these charges address the act of interfering with the normal operations of law enforcement or corrections operations.

Key Penal Law Provisions:

  • Escape in the Third Degree – PL 205.05, a class A misdemeanor
  • Escape in the Second Degree – PL 205.10, a class E felony
  • Escape in the First Degree – PL 205.15, a class D felony
  • Detention facility – PL 205.00(1)
  • Custody – PL 205.00(2)
  • Absconding from temporary release in the second degree – PL 205.16, a class A misdemeanor
  • Absconding from temporary release in the first degree – PL 205.17, a class E felony
  • Absconding from a furlough program – PL 205.18, a class A misdemeanor
  • Absconding from a community treatment facility – PL 205.19, a class E felony
  • Promoting prison contraband in the second degree – PL 205.20, a class A misdemeanor
  • Promoting prison contraband in the first degree – PL 205.25, a class D felony
  • Contraband – PL 205.00(3)
  • Dangerous contraband – PL 205.00(4)
  • Resisting Arrest – PL 205.30, a class A misdemeanor
  • Hindering prosecution in the third degree – PL 205.55, a class A misdemeanor
  • Hindering prosecution in the second degree – PL 205.60, a class E felony
  • Hindering prosecution in the first degree – PL 205.65, a class D felony

Escape and Related Offenses

Escape charges are relatively self-explanatory and scale in severity to the level of custody the defendant is in at the time of the escape. Thus, if a defendant is merely in “custody,” defined as “restraint by a public servant pursuant to an authorized arrest or an order of a court,” the crime is a misdemeanor. PL 205.05. However, if, for instance, a person escapes while in a detention facility (a “place used for the confinement . . . of a person charged with [a specified offense]”) or if the person escapes from custody while under arrest for a class C, D, or E felony, then escape itself becomes chargeable as a felony. PL 205.10; 205.00(1). Finally, if a person is charged with or convicted of a felony and escapes from a detention facility, or has been arrested for, charged with or convicted or a class A or B felony and escapes, the charge can be elevated to a class D felony. PL 205.15(2). Escaping youthful offenders whose sentences have been substituted for felony convictions are also eligible to be charged with a felony. PL 205.10(3), 205.15(3). There are also provisions covering Absconding from temporary release, furlough program, or a community treatment facility. PL 205.16 (second-degree), PL 205.17 (first-degree), PL 205.18 (furlough program), PL 205.19 (community treatment facility).

Prison Contraband Offenses

Also somewhat self-explanatory, the prison contraband offenses criminalize the possession or introduction of any contraband in or to a detention facility. PL 205.20, 205.25. Contraband is defined as “any article or thing which a person confined in a detention facility is prohibited from obtaining or possessing by statute, rule, regulation, or order.” This would include drugs, narcotics, and other controlled substances, weapons of any kind, and any other thing might be outlawed by the jail, prison, or other detention facility at issue. The charge is elevated where “dangerous contraband” or “contraband which is capable of such use as may endanger the safety or security of a detention facility or any person therein” is involved. PL 205.00(4), 205.25.

Resisting Arrest

This class A misdemeanor charge would apply to those who “intentionally prevent[] or attempt to prevent[] a police officer or peace officer from effecting an authorized arrest of himself or another person.” PL 205.30. This charge is versatile, and may apply to various arrest scenarios. It is important to note that this charge may apply to people other than those being arrested. If a friend, or another person tries to stop the police from arresting someone else, the person interfering is, too, may be subject to arrest and prosecution.