Legal Definition and Related Resources of Escape

Meaning of Escape

The act by which one who is arrested or is already in lawful custody , gains his liberty before he is delivered by due course of law.

Escape Alternative Definition

From Bodily Harm. The ancient doctrine of the common law that the right of self-defense did not arise until every effort to escape, even to retreating until an impassable wall or something of that nature had been reached, has been supplanted in America by the doctrine that a man, if unlawfully assaulted in a place where he has a right to be, and put in danger, real or reasonably apparent, of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm, is not required to endeavor to escape from his assailant, but may stand his ground, and repel force with force, even to the taking of the life of his assailant, if necessary or in good reason apparently necessary, for the preservation of his own life or to protect himself from receiving great bodily harm. It is not necessary to the right of self-defense that a party having otherwise the right to exercise it, cannot “escape” the danger by fleeing from his assailant. 199 111. 173. Of Prisoner. The deliverance of a person, who is lawfully imprisoned, out of a prison, before such a person is entitled to such deliverance by law. 5 Mass. 310. When one who is arrested gains his liberty before he is delivered in due course of law. 107 N. C. 858. Departure of a prisoner from custody before he is discharged by due process of law. Escape takes place without force; prison breach, with violence; rescue, through the intervention of third parties. Actual Escapee. Those which take place when the prisoner in fact gets out of prison, and unlawfully regains his liberty. Constructive Escapes. These take place when the prisoner Obtains more liberty than the law allows, although he still remains in confinement. Bac. Abr. “Escape” (B) ; Plowd. 17: 5 Mass. 810; 2 Mason (U. S.) 486. This distinction obtains only as to arrest in civil actions. Negligent Escape. This takes place when the prisoner goes at large, unlawfully, either because the building or prison in which he is confined is too weak to hold him, or because the keeper, by carelessness, lets him go out of prison. Voluntary Escape. This takes place when the prisoner has given to him voluntarily any liberty not authorized by law. 5 Mass. 310; 2 N. Chip. (Vt.) 11; 25 N. H. 458.

Synonyms of Escape


  • abscond
  • achieve liberty
  • avoid
  • avoid arrest
  • avoid capture
  • avoid peril
  • become free
  • bolt
  • break from prison
  • break loose
  • break out
  • circumvent
  • decamp
  • depart custody
  • depart unlawfully
  • desert
  • disappear
  • elabi
  • elude
  • evade
  • evadere
  • find freedom
  • flee
  • fugere
  • gain liberty
  • get to safety
  • levant
  • make a getaway
  • run away
  • slip away
  • sneak off
  • steal away
  • take flight
  • Associated Concepts: extradition
  • flight
  • forcible escape

Related Entries of Escape in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Escape in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Escape in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Escape in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Escape in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Avoid, Evade, Evening, Fugitive, Pound, Repeal, Strict Liability.


You might be interested in these references tools:

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Escape in the Dictionary Escape in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Escape
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Related topics Escape in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Escape is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Escape (more about URIs)

English Spanish Translation of Escape


Find other English to Spanish translations from the Pocket Spanish English Legal Dictionary (print and online), the English to Spanish to English dictionaries (like Escape) and the Word reference legal translator.

Escape in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of escape.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Escape

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Escape :

The common-law offence of escaping from lawful custody. The custody may be in prison or a police station, or even in the open air. The escaper need not have been charged with any offence, provided his detention is lawful (e.g. he may be detained to provide a *specimen of breath). Nor is it necessary for him to commit any act of breaking out. It is also an offence to help the escape of a prisoner and to permit a prisoner who is detained in relation to a criminal matter to escape. If someone actually breaks out of a building in which he is lawfully confined he commits a separate offence of prison breaking.

escape: Vocabulary part of speech

escape (verb)

Meaning of this part of speech

get away from a holding place

escape in an Example Sentence

If you try to escape we will have to restrain you with handcuffs.

escape is a verb about crime.



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