Can I be charged for harboring a fugitive just by being in the same car/house or just knowing where they are?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged for harboring a fugitive just by being in the same car/house or just knowing where they are?

My friend is out on bond but also has an arrest warrant he missed court for a

simple possession of marijuana and now has a second warrant and could have just paid the fine but wanted to have enough money to pay for the fine and bond out of jail in order to not have to sit in the jail for an extensive amount of time. His bondsman had came off of all his bonds and is now trying to threaten me with having my bondlady come off my bond and charging me for harboring a fugitive. Is this legal? Is it even possible?

Asked on October 10, 2018 under Criminal Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Harboring a fugitive refers to the crime of knowingly hiding a wanted person from arrest. Federal and state laws governing the crime of harboring a fugitive vary. For a federal offense, such a crime can carry up to 3 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. However, every case is different.

All circumstances will be taken into consideration. For example on the negative side, she hid your father (or assisted him in hiding) for 2 years. During this time the authorities repeatedly made contact with her but she repeatedly lied to them as to his whereabouts. If your mom claimed state assistance or other state benefits during this time, she could be facing other related charges. This is especially true if he was paying her in some way without the state counting it against the child support owed.

On the plus side, if you are a minor child and/or have minor siblings, that would also be taken into account. After all, who would take care of you/them if she and your father were both serving terms of imprisonment? Additionally your father was not charged with a crime of violence, rather his offense had to do with non-payment of back child support. So that may help.

However, you indicated that there are other charges against her as well. These could stem from many behaviors, and reasonable doubt on the main charge is unlikely. Other charges could include a felony offense or multiple offenses.

Bottom line, the fact is that your mother is in a lot of trouble and she needs to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.

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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