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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Federal Conceal Person from Arrest

By Spodek Law Group | February 14, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 11, 2023)

Last Updated on: 11th October 2023, 06:22 pm

Federal Conceal Person from Arrest

Helping someone avoid arrest can land you in legal trouble. Here’s what you need to know about federal law on concealing a person from arrest.

What is Concealing a Person from Arrest?

Concealing a person from arrest basically means helping someone avoid being arrested when you know they have an arrest warrant. The federal law that covers this is 18 U.S.C. § 1071.To be convicted under this law, the government has to prove:

  • There was a federal arrest warrant for the person
  • You knew about the warrant
  • You intentionally hid or concealed the person
  • You intended to prevent their arrest

So if you let your friend crash at your place for a few nights and you knew he had a federal warrant, you could be charged with concealing him from arrest.

There are other similar federal charges like:

  • 18 U.S.C. § 1072 – Concealing an escaped federal prisoner. Up to 3 years in prison.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 752 – Assisting a federal prisoner escape. Up to 5 years in prison.
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1073 – Fleeing to avoid prosecution or giving testimony. Up to 5 years in prison.

So basically any kind of helping someone avoid facing the consequences of their federal charges can land you in legal jeopardy too.


For basic concealing a person from arrest, the penalties are:

  • Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in prison and/or fines if the fugitive committed a federal misdemeanor
  • Felony – Up to 5 years in prison and/or fines if the fugitive committed a federal felony

The penalties go up if you helped a federal prisoner escape or assisted their escape. Those charges carry 3-5 years in prison.


Some possible defenses if you’re charged with concealing a person from arrest include:

  • No knowledge – You didn’t know there was a warrant and had no reason to suspect the person was wanted. The burden is on the prosecution to prove you knew.
  • Duress – You only helped conceal the person because you felt threatened or coerced. This negates the intent element.
  • No intent – You didn’t intentionally try to conceal the person from law enforcement. For example, maybe they showed up at your home unexpectedly.

Bottom Line

Helping someone avoid arrest is a serious federal crime. The penalties can include substantial prison time and fines. If you’re charged with concealing a person from arrest, don’t say anything to police and speak to a federal criminal defense lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney can evaluate the case against you and build the strongest defense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be charged with concealing a person from arrest if I didn’t know about the warrant?

No, you can’t be convicted if you didn’t know there was an arrest warrant. The government has to prove you had knowledge of the warrant. If you unknowingly sheltered someone with an outstanding warrant, that would likely not be a crime.

What if I was coerced or threatened into concealing the person?

You may have a duress defense if you can show you only concealed the person because you felt threatened or coerced by them. This could defeat the intent element required for conviction. But you’ll need evidence to back up your claim of duress.

Can I be charged with concealing a fugitive who escaped state custody?

Generally no, the federal concealing a person statute only applies to federal warrants and fugitives. But most states have similar laws for state charges, so you could face state prosecution for helping someone escape state custody.

What if I didn’t actually conceal the person, just failed to report their location?

The law requires active concealment – merely failing to report the person’s location is not enough. There generally is no duty to report a fugitive’s whereabouts to law enforcement. However, obstruction of justice charges are possible if you lie to police or actively interfere with an investigation.

What should I do if a fugitive asks me for help avoiding arrest?

You should avoid getting involved at all. Politely refuse to assist the person in any way, do not agree to shelter or transport them, and do not provide money, transportation, or other aid. If they persist, make it clear you cannot be involved. Contacting an attorney can also help protect you from being implicated. But do not take any active steps to conceal or aid the fugitive.

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

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