The Consequences of Harboring a Fugitive

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What Will happen to You If You Harbor a Fugitive

Harboring a fugitive is a serious criminal offense that can lead to imprisonment and monetary fines. The exact penalties depend on factors like the severity of the case and the jurisdiction’s laws.

In general, harboring a fugitive means knowingly aiding someone fleeing from arrest or prosecution after committing a crime. This aid could include hiding, sheltering, or helping the fugitive escape.

Federal penalties can be up to 5 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. If the fugitive is a terrorist, the sentence could be life behind bars. Specific penalties vary based on the fugitive’s alleged crime:

  • Up to 5 years in prison or fines for harboring a felony fugitive.
  • Up to 1 year jailed or fined for harboring a non-felony fugitive.
  • Up to 3 years jailed for harboring an escaped prisoner.

In some places, like Nevada, the charge is being an “accessory” instead of harboring. This applies if someone hides evidence or the fugitive. Being an accessory in Nevada is a class C felony with 1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines.

Differences Between States

Laws and penalties vary from state to another as these example illustrate:

  • In Florida, harboring a fugitive is a third-degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 fines.
  • In Texas, harboring a misdemeanor fugitive leads to up to 1 year jailed. But assisting a felony fugitive can mean up to 5 years imprisoned.

To be convicted, the state must prove the defendant knew or had reason to believe they were aiding a fugitive. Unintentional help does not qualify as harboring.

Comparing Harboring and Assisting Fugitives

 Harboring means knowingly sheltering or hiding a fugitive. Just being unaware of fugitive status does not constitute harboring.

Assisting is a broader term for any intentional aid hindering capture, prosecution, or punishment. This could include escape help or financial aid. But just providing money or failing to reveal a location is not necessarily harboring.

Both crimes can lead to fines and incarceration, with harsher penalties for more severe fugitive crimes. The specific laws and penalties vary between jurisdictions.

Seeking Legal Counsel Anyone potentially accused of harboring or assisting a fugitive should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The laws and penalties surrounding these crimes are complex. Qualified legal advice is crucial.

Recommended Sources for Further Reading:

1) – This links to the US Code defining federal penalties for harboring certain fugitives like escaped prisoners. It is from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School.

2) – This links to the Nevada laws on being an accessory after the fact from the Shouse California Law Group’s website. It summarizes the charges and penalties.

3) – This links to the Florida statute defining penalties for third degree felonies, including fines and imprisonment terms. It is from the official Florida state legislature website.

4) – This links to the Texas penalties for harboring fugitives from the official Texas state legislature website. It details the charges and punishment ranges.

5) – This is from the US Department of Justice and summarizes the legal elements required to prove harboring charges.

6) – This links to the American Bar Association’s tips on finding and hiring a lawyer for your specific legal situation.

The video discusses harboring fugitives in Oklahoma, emphasizing the importance of knowledge about the fugitive’s status. Harboring a fugitive in the state is a felony, potentially leading to 10 years in prison. If questioned by law enforcement, individuals have the right to remain silent and should consider seeking legal advice.
Andrew Clay

Andrew Clay: Senior Writer at
Andrew Clay, aged 65, is the leading voice and main writer at His journey is
marked by a lifelong dedication to combating crime, both in his earlier career and in his current role.
A retired police officer with a degree in law, Andrew's experience spans decades of active service on
the streets, where he bravely risked his own safety for the protection of his community.
Transitioning from physical law enforcement to a focus on research and education, Andrew
continues his fight against crime through a different medium. His work now revolves around
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Residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Andrew's life is enriched by his family. He is married to his
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grandchildren. His personal experiences as a family man and community protector deeply influence
his perspectives and dedication to public safety. Andrew's work at is not just a
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