Articles Tagged with harboring a fugitive

If you have been charged with harboring a fugitive, you could be looking at serious state and/or federal penalties, including large fines and years in prison. It does not matter how or why you got mixed up in this situation: it is essential you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney now. Otherwise, the potential consequences associated with the charges could be devastating. 

What Does it Mean to Harbor a Fugitive?

Anyone who consciously conceals or harbors an individual could be charged with harboring a fugitive if the individual in question has been issued an arrest warrant or has escaped from authorities and is fleeing the court’s jurisdiction, especially if the concealment occurs specifically to interfere with that individual’s apprehension by law enforcement. The law requires one who encounters a known fugitive to refuse shelter, aid, or financial assistance and instead contact authorities as soon as it is safe to do so. If you find yourself in a position where harboring a fugitive is a possibility, it’s a good idea to get advice from counsel prior to becoming involved in discussions with law enforcement.

An Ethical and Moral Dilemma

Sometimes, choosing the correct course of action can be a huge dilemma of principle for people.  If the fugitive is a family member, for instance, one might be reluctant to turn them away. Similarly, if the fugitive happened to be a sympathetic figure, or one that stands for a particular ideology, it might be tempting to offer assistance. Even so, the law regards those who choose personal motives over legal requirements in these situations as criminals themselves.

It Can be Trouble for You

The law is crystal clear: it requires you to know—or expects that you reasonably should have known– that the person you are helping is a fugitive in order for the courts to find you guilty of harboring a fugitive. If a prosecutor is convinced that you did, indeed, know the status of the fugitive, you will likely be charged based on your actions.  You could face legal problems for any amount of help you provide, even if you do no more than simply give advice on where to hide or how to evade authorities or if you direct a fugitive where to access resources to aid in escaping discovery. Obviously, actively shielding a fugitive, trying to throw law enforcement off track, or otherwise damaging the investigation will likely lead to charges against you. It is worth knowing that the seriousness of the charges against the fugitive will impact the gravity of the charges against you. It’s one thing to hide from authorities based on numerous traffic tickets. That is going to be less of an issue than someone who’s been charged with rape, domestic violence, or murder, for instance. In either case, however, the legal expectation is that you notify authorities regardless of the charges the fugitive is trying to evade. Continue reading

Contact Information