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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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