Am I harboring a fugitive?
UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022
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Am I harboring a fugitive?
My 17 year old is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon. He wont turn himself
in. I tell him he cant stay at the house but keeps sneaking in at night and we
are unaware he is in the house until we awake and then tell him to leave again
but what if the cops come and we don’t know hes there. Are we still harboring a
Asked on August 27, 2018 under Criminal Law, Texas
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 4 years ago | Contributor
Under Section 38.05 of your state's penal code: "(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to hinder the arrest, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another for an offense or, with intent to hinder the arrest, detention, adjudication, or disposition of a child for engaging in delinquent conduct that violates a penal law of the state, or with intent to hinder the arrest of another under the authority of a warrant or capias, he:
(1) harbors or conceals the other;
(2) provides or aids in providing the other with any means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape; or
(3) warns the other of impending discovery or apprehension."
"Harboring" as generally defined in the law includes to give lodging, shelter, or refuge to. Since you are allowing him to stay with you (see below), you are harboring; thus, you are guilty of a crime. You claim he is sneaking it, but you are allowing him to so: you could change the locks so he can't get in; you could put an alarm on doors or windows; if you know he has been coming in at night--which you clearly are--you could wake up in the middle of the night to check, the call the police if he is there; etc. The fact that you do none of the easy, commonsense things to stop his apparently repetitive use of your house shows an at-least passive collaboration with him, affording him shelter or refuge. Your intent to help him can be inferred from you doing nothing to stop him from using your home as refuge.
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