Hindering Apprehension is a criminal charge in Pennsylvania that is either a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the underlying circumstances. The most frequent circumstance that we see this charge is when someone hides a wanted person. But it is not as simple as that. Let’s look at this together in detail. There is a lot on the line.
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The law of Hindering Apprehension:
You can read the exact test of the law here:
What the government has to prove…
The truth is that the government is winning your case right now. You are behind the proverbial eight-ball. You need to be offensive and aggressive. Unless you don’t care. If you don’t care, then stop reading. If you want to protect yourself from the government, we are for you. You have the absolute right to defend yourself. You have the absolute right to use every conceivable means under the law to win.
The law tells us that you are presumed to be innocent. That’s important. Just because you are arrested and accused of a crime is no evidence of guilt. The government has to prove you guilty. You don’t have to prove anything. They have to use admissible, credible and sufficient evidence to overcome the default state of not guilty by proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
The government has the never shifting burden beyond a reasonable doubt the following:
- the accused
- with intent to hinder the apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment
- of another
- for crime or violation of the terms of probation, parole, intermediate punishment or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, he:
- harbors or conceals the other;
- provides or aids in providing a weapon, transportation, disguise or other means of avoiding apprehension or effecting escape;
- conceals or destroys evidence of the crime, or tampers with a witness, informant, document or other source of information, regardless of its admissibility in evidence;
- warns the other of impending discovery or apprehension, except that this paragraph does not apply to a warning given in connection with an effort to bring another into compliance with law; or
- provides false information to a law enforcement officer.
What is or is not the crime of Hindering Apprehension
Some things are obvious. If you tell the police that you know someone is wanted or they tell you that someone was wanted, yet you hide them in your basement, then that is exactly what the crime is meant to punish. Knowledge of that the person is wanted is key in these cases. Remember it has to be wanted for a misdemeanor or a felony, not just wanted for arrest (e.g., material witness bail or Indirect Criminal Contempt).
Where, in response to questioning by police, the accused stated that she knew nothing of a woman and her mobile home’s disappearance, but opined that the woman and the vehicle were in Arizona at a cult organization, the accused did not by the statement hinder apprehension or prosecution in violation of Hindering Apprehension. She had given the statement in response to questioning, she had not volunteered the statement. Plus expressing an opinion of possibility that the government could not disprove is not the type of conduct criminalized. Commonwealth v. Gettemy, 404 Pa. Super. 504, 591 A.2d 320, (Pa. Super. Ct. 1991).
Maximum Penalties for Hindering Apprehension
If the person is wanted for a felony of the first degree or felony of the second degree and you are convicted of Hindering Apprehension, then it is Felony of the Third Degree. A F3 is punishable by jail not to exceed seven years and $15,000.00. If the wanted person is wanted for a crime that is any other offense it is misdemeanor of the second degree. M2s are punishable by a maximum term of prison of two years and $5,000.00