What is the Family Fugitive Concealment Law in Illinois?

Aiding family members charged with a crime now itself a crime in Illinois.

Illinois residents who have a family member charged with a crime should be aware that a new Illinois law which went into effect this year makes a variety of conduct carried out to assist that family member itself a crime. A Family Fugitive Concealment law ends this state’s status as one of 14 states exempting family members of a defendant from prosecuting on charges or either aiding or harboring fugitives regardless of the seriousness of the charged offense.

The law creates a new crime aimed at family members who aid suspects in a criminal prosecution to flee the jurisdiction (the municipality, county, state, or country where the crime is charged) or evade capture by law enforcement authorities. Just how broadly this law is going to be applied remains to be seen, but it could be used very harshly to attempt to punish family member’s who do nothing much more than provide their accused relative the ordinary assistance  routinely provided to a family member.  While the law seems to say those charged must be shown to have “volitionally” aided the fugitive, prosecutors may attempt to try to prove that by very circumstantial evidence.

The motivation for the new statute reportedly stemmed from media accounts of family members who aided suspects in rape, murder and other serious crime investigation leave the country by giving them shelter, foods or rides to an airport. The law applies to any relative of a suspect over the age of 18 and requires that they intentionally assisted the fugitive to evade arrest or flee.

Violations are classified as a Class 4 felony. Left unchanged by the new measure was an earlier law that also makes it a Class 4 felony to conceal your knowledge that a crime has been committed or to harbor, aid or conceal the offender, but which exempts family members who are the husband, wife, parent, child, brother or sister to the accused.

The Law Offices of Goldman & Associates, Chicago criminal lawyers, stand ready to provide a strong  defense for people in Illinois charged with aiding a fugitive, whether a family member or not, and making sure that the prosecution is required to prove intent by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.  Contact our offices at 773-484-3131 or 847-215-2600 if you or a family member are facing prosecution on such charges.

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