Escaping From Lawful Custody

Escaping From Lawful Custody is found in section 49E of the Summary Offences Act 1966 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who was found to have run away, or attempted to run away, whilst in custody.

Have you been accused of Escaping From Lawful Custody?

Police Interview

The police may want to interview you in relation to this charge because they suspect you are guilty. It is worth remembering that anything you tell the police can be used in evidence against you. It is also worth remembering that you have the right to say ‘no comment’ to police except where they ask for your name, address and date of birth. This is a safe option because you will avoid saying anything which may incriminate you. You can always tell your side of the story later on.

Before you speak to police you should speak to a criminal lawyer who can go through the procedures of a police interview and advise you on whether you should provide a comment interview.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you think you have been wrongly charged with this offence it is important to get in touch with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible who can discuss your options about contesting the charge. Our lawyers have dealt with this charge often and have achieved success. We will be able to help you navigate the complex criminal justice system and develop a strategy for your case if you decide to plead not guilty.

Pleading Guilty

Where there is strong evidence against you, you may decide to plead guilty. It is equally as important to have a lawyer represent you where this is the case. Our lawyers do court appearances at the Magistrates’ Court daily and will be able to assist you to put together a plea on your behalf that will get you the best possible outcome.


Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Escape, or Attempt to Escape, From Lawful Custody in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Examples of Escaping From Lawful Custody
  • The Police pull over a man and he jumps out of his car and runs away.
  • A woman is arrested and is in a police van. She tries to open the door to jump out.
  • A man escapes from prison.
  • You did not try to escape.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Can they prove that you tried to escape?
  • Did you have a reason for leaving?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for Escaping From Lawful Custody (s49E of the Summary Offences Act 1966) is 2 years imprisonment.

Escaping from lawful custody is the sort of summary offence regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.


The section that covers this offence is section 49E of the Summary Offences Act 1966.

What is the legal definition of Escaping From Lawful Custody?

A person, while being lawfully detained, escapes or attempts to escape from custody.

“Did you try to escape from the Police?”