Harboring a Fugitive

Harboring an individual to prevent his discovery and arrest, and similarly, concealing an escaped prisoner, are serious federal offenses, punishable by up to five years imprisonment under certain circumstances. Should a fugitive friend or family member approach you and request your assistance in hiding from law enforcement, you should immediately contact the best New York federal attorney you can find for advice in order to prevent a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment for yourself.

Specifically, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1071, whoever harbors or conceals any person who is the subject of a federal arrest warrant in order to prevent his discovery, and with notice or knowledge that a warrant has already been issued for such individual's apprehension, shall be fined and/or imprisoned by up to one year. See, e.g., United States v. Donaldson, 793 F.2d 498, 502 (2d Cir. 1986). However, if the arrest warrant charges a felony offense, i.e., one punishable by more than one year imprisonment, or was issued following the conviction for any federal offense, the maximum punishment is increased to five years imprisonment. E.g., United States v. Faul, 748 F.2d 1204, 1223 (8th Cir. 1984). In order to secure a conviction for this crime, the government must establish the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt: "(1) that a federal warrant has been issued for a fugitive's arrest; (2) that the defendant knew that the warrant had been issued; (3) that the defendant harbored or concealed the fugitive; and (4) that the defendant intended to prevent the fugitive's discovery or arrest." United States v. Bowens, 224 F.3d 302, 309 (4th Cir. 2000) citing United States v. Silva, 745 F.2d 840, 848 (4th Cir. 1984).

Similarly, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1072, whoever willfully harbors any prisoner following his escape from either a federal correctional institution, or the custody of the United States Attorney General, shall be imprisoned by up to three years. Notably, this includes any inmate that has been committed to the custody of the United States Marshal's Service (United States v. Howard, 545 F.2d 1044, 1045 (6th Cir. 1976)), or who escaped from a state correctional institution during the service of a federal sentence pursuant to a contract with the United States government. United States v. Eaglin, 571 F.2d 1069, 1073 (9th Cir. 1977).

Hiring a top federal criminal defense attorney to defend you in any prosecution for harboring or concealing a fugitive is crucial and will ensure that every viable defense is explored and utilized on your behalf. Attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled countless federal cases, exploiting holes in the prosecution's evidence to achieve the best possible result for our clients. Contact us today at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.