Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Michigan provide legal assistance to a variety of people undergoing the same scary experience: for one reason or another, police put them under arrest for criminal charges. While this is a stressful situation for anyone to go through, it is important to cooperate with the legal system and stay put. Running from law enforcement may seem to work in the short term, but police will search for you even if it takes years. Such an example is seen in the out-of-state arrest of a man who escaped from a Michigan prison over 30 years ago.
In 1976, the court system convicted Steven Gillin of burglary charges in Michigan, resulting in a three to 15 year prison sentence. Instead of serving his time, Gillin escaped from the Michigan Department of Corrections and traveled out-of-state. Assuming the name Thomas Evans, Gillin evaded law enforcement officials for 34 years living in various communities with unknowing neighbors.
Over the years, he started a small construction company and started living with his girlfriend. But after being arrested for assault and damage to personal property, his alias started to fall apart. When questioned by police, Gillin identified himself as Evans and was released on a written promise to appear in court.
Investigating the case later that day, police matched “Evans” fingerprints to Gillin, who had a substantial criminal record while maintaining his alias. Between 1991-2000, Gillin was arrested for several charges including driving while intoxicated, driving with a revoked license, and others. However, his identity was likely harder to uncover because, at that time, law enforcement officials did not have the use of fingerprinting technology. For the past three years, Michigan police have fingerprinted each person suspected of a misdemeanor to help identify repeat offenders and those assuming another identity, such as Gillin.
Local police officers arrested Gillin, jailing him without bond on a fugitive warrant. In addition to the stiff escape charges in Michigan he will undoubtedly face, law enforcement officials will also prosecute him for obstruction of justice for lying to his local magistrate about his true identity. If convicted of the charges against him, the 34 year prison escapee will likely be ordered to a significant time behind bars, if not a life sentence.
The example of Steven Gillin shows that you can run from the legal system but you cannot hide. As if the original charges against a suspect were not problematic enough, attempting to escape will almost certainly increase the offenses charged against the defendant. For a criminal suspect, running away will not help avoid punishment, instead it will substantially increase it. When suspected of a criminal offense, do not flee. Instead contact hard-working and aggressive criminal defense attorneys in Michigan for assistance. Acting quickly will ensure the best legal advice and legal representation for your defense, designed to keep criminal charges from changing your life forever.