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Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) or Giving Testimony

July 8, 2020

“Don’t Leave Town!”

Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t leave town” spoken by a prosecuting attorney or investigator during a criminal procedure or on a TV crime drama?  Fleeing the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution or to avoid giving testimony is a serious offense, which in itself can garner you serious criminal penalties in federal court. As charges pile up, you need a federal lawyer on your side who has the skills to simplify your side of the process while dealing with all of the complex and difficult legal work behind the scenes. With so much at risk, it is critical that you get a lawyer on your side as quickly as possible, and that you enlist the services of a private defender who is committed to protecting your better interests and who has time to work with you in your specific needs. 

18 U.S.C. 1073 – Flight to Avoid Prosecution or Giving Testimony

There are three distinct intentions behind the movement or travel of a defendant in a federal criminal case which can lead to UFAP charges: 

  1. If you move or travel in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to avoid prosecution or custody or confinement after a conviction under the laws of the place you flee for a crime or attempt which is either a felony or punishable by death, you can be found guilty of UFAP. 
  2. If you move or travel to avoid giving testimony in any criminal felony or death penalty proceedings, you can be found guilty under this section. 
  3. If you move or travel to avoid being served or to avoid contempt proceedings, you can be found guilty.

Criminal Penalties for Fleeing to Avoid Prosecution

Pursuant to federal law, any person found guilty under this section can be looking at up to 5 years behind bars, and possibly be ordered to pay a fine. Bear in mind that these penalties will add onto existing penalties for the offense you allegedly fled from, and the flight could in turn damage your future case.  This is especially so if you were hoping to get out on bail, since now you would be considered a flight risk.  You need an attorney who can handle your case and ensure you get the best possible result in your federal UFAP matter, as well as the rest of your criminal case.

From the time that you are first questioned in your case or accused of fleeing to evade legal proceedings of any kind, you should reach out to an experienced defense attorney who will be able to advise you on the next steps you need to take. 

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