Escape From Custody Offences (Vic)

In Victoria, offences relating to escaping from custody or aiding someone else to do so are contained in the Crimes Act 1958. Escaping from lawful custody is a serious offence that can attract a lengthy term of imprisonment. This page deals with escape from custody offences in Victoria.

What is custody?

A person is in lawful custody when they have been lawfully arrested or are detained or imprisoned. This may be in a public place in the company of police, in transit from one place of detention to another, in a correctional facility or in youth detention.

What is escape?

To find a person guilty of escaping, a court must be satisfied that their actions amounted to escape. A person escapes from custody if they gain freedom from the place or person that was restricting their freedom. The court must be satisfied that the accused knew that they were not free to leave and deliberately and consciously withdrew from custody.

Rescuing prisoner from lawful custody

Under section 479A of the Crimes Act 1958, it is an offence to rescue or attempt to rescue a prisoner by force from lawful custody. This offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Aiding prisoner in escaping

Under section 479B of the Crimes Act 1958, it is an offence to convey anything or cause anything to be conveyed to a prison or to a prisoner with intent to facilitate the escape of the prisoner. This offence carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.

Escape offences

Under section 479C of the Crimes Act 1958, it is an offence to escape, or attempt to escape from lawful custody. This is punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment.


The above offences are indictable offences that can be dealt with summarily (in the Magistrates Court) where both the defence and the prosecution agree. In the Magistrates Court, the maximum penalty that can be imposed for a single offence is imprisonment for two years.

Pleading guilty to an escape from custody offence

If you have been charged with an offence relating to escaping custody, there are a number of matters to consider before pleading guilty. Firstly, consider whether the prosecution can prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. Secondly, consider whether there is any defence available to you.

If you are going to plead guilty to an escape from custody offence, seek legal representation. The court will impose a sentence based on the objective seriousness of the offence and your personal circumstances including your criminal history.

Defences to escape from custody

If you have been charged with escape from custody, you may have defence available. This may include:

  • That your actions did not amount to escape
  • That you were not in lawful custody
  • That the offence was committed in response to an emergency situation

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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