Harboring a fugitive is illegal in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This crime can take many forms.
Harboring a Fugitive Laws
It is against the law to knowingly and willfully conceal or harbor a person who is either charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor. To do so is a misdemeanor offense. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 439
Likewise, the law prohibits the same where felony behavior is involved. According to the law, if a person knowingly engages in acts that aid a fugitive from justice—such as feeding, clothing, arming them with weapons, or giving them lodging—that person could be convicted of a felony crime. This is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
Oklahoma law also prohibits you from aiding, assisting, or concealing a person who has committed a felony or who is seeking to escape arrest. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 440
This is a broad statute. Broad statutes are meant to cover a number of possible scenarios.
Concealing or assisting a fugitive qualify as acts constituting “harboring.”
- In addition, a fugitive is broadly construed to include:
- a convicted criminal; someone who is trying to evade arrest; or
- someone who has been bailed out of jail and wants to escape.
This may happen more often than we think. Here is one scenario.
Your son comes home bruised and bloody in the middle of the night. He is carrying a knapsack with some phones and a couple of computers along with a crowbar.
You ask him what is going on and he asks for your help. He wants to hide the computers and phone in his room and asks that you don’t tell the police about the robbery.
Because this is your son and you love him, you agree.
When the police come looking for him, you tell the police he isn’t home and you haven’t seen him. He is upstairs in his room.
Without doing anything more, you could land in prison for 10 years.
The Requirement of Knowledge
Oklahoma law requires that you knowingly harbor the fugitive. That means you know the person has committed a crime, he or she is a fugitive, and you still provide assistance.
The prosecutor must prove that you did so knowingly. Thus, lack of knowledge is a defense to the crime of harboring a fugitive if you are charged.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney
Harboring a fugitive can mean years in prison if you are convicted. It is a crime that is treated harshly by Oklahoma courts.
There are defenses to these crimes that you should explore with your attorney. You want to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work hard to protect you and your freedom.
The prosecution is working hard to convict you. Make sure you and your attorney work hard to preserve your freedom. Small facts may make a big difference in your defense.
Our initial consultation is free. Call Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 918-879-1681 or submit the question form at the top right of this page.