18-8-208.1 CRS - Attempt to escape from jail or prison in Colorado

18-8-208.1 CRS is the Colorado statute that makes it a crime an inmate to attempt to escape from a jail, prison or other penal institution in Colorado. This section makes attempted escape a crime even if the prisoner is unsuccessful and never actually breaks out of the facility.

If the prisoner actually escape, he or she would likely be charged with the crime of escape from custody under CRS 18-8-208.

The penalty for an escape attempt depends on the crime or charged for which you were incarcerated. However, a prison or jail sentence is always mandatory. The court may not grant probation or a suspended sentence unless you are a juvenile offender.1

Attempted escape following felony conviction

If you attempt to escape confinement following a conviction on felony charges, you commit a class 4 felony. The penalty for Colorado class 4 felony attempted escape (if no one is hurt and no deadly weapon is used) is:

  • 2-6 years in prison (with 3 years mandatory parole), and
  • A possible fine of $2,000-$500,000.

This penalty will be served after and in addition to the sentence for your original crime(s).

If however, you are in a community corrections or intensive supervision parole program it is a Colorado class 5 felony. The sentence for your attempted escape may run concurrently or consecutively with any sentence you are already serving.

As a class 5 felony, punishment for attempted escape can include:

  • 1-3 years in prison (with 2 years mandatory parole), and
  • A possible fine of $1,000-$100,000.

Attempted escape following a conviction for misdemeanor or petty offense

If you knowingly attempt to escape custody following a misdemeanor or petty offense charge or conviction, you are guilty of a Colorado misdemeanor. The penalty for a misdemeanor escape attempt can include:

  • 2-4 months in county jail.

If you were already convicted, or are subsequently convicted, of the underlying charge, your sentence will run after and in addition to the sentence for the original crime.

Defenses to attempted escape

Defending against attempted escape in Colorado often involves showing:

  • You were falsely accused,
  • You were the victim of mistaken identification, or
  • You didn't knowingly attempt to escape.

Example: You and another inmate are engaging in a rules infraction. The other inmate says a correctional officer is coming and you need to hide. He ushers you into a hiding place, which turns out to be a tunnel leading to the outside of the prison. Because you didn't knowingly attempt to escape, you have a defense to attempted escape charges.

Call us for help…

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If you have been charged with attempted escape, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers are here to help.

We can defend you on both your attempted escape charges and, if applicable, the underlying offense for which you are in custody.

We represent clients accused of petty offenses, misdemeanors and felonies throughout the state of Colorado.

For a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our caring and experienced Colorado defense attorneys, use the form on this page or call us at our Denver home office:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330

In California? See our article on the California crime of rescuing a prisoner.

In Nevada? See our article on the Nevada crime of escaping from prison.

Legal references:

  1. 18-8-208.1 (5) C.R.S.


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