What Does Hindering Prosecution Mean?

A depiction of a judge ruling on a hindering the prosecution case in Jefferson City, MO.

Hindering the prosecution, apprehension, or conviction of another person can lead to serious criminal penalties. That can include fines, jail time, and a criminal record. 

For that reason, if you’re charged with hindering prosecution or apprehension, it’s imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

This article discussed the following:

  • Charges for hindering prosecution
  • Penalties for hindering prosecution 
  • Examples of preventing apprehension, convictions, and prosecutions 
  • Potential defenses 

Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Kirsch & Kirsch today at 573-222-0826 to discuss the detail of your case with a proven attorney. Continue reading to learn more. 

Is Hindering Prosecution a Felony? 

It depends. In some cases, hindering prosecution is a felony, and in others, it’s a misdemeanor. 

According to MO. Rev. Stat § 575.030, a person can be convicted of hindering prosecution if, for the purpose of preventing the apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another individual who committed a crime, they do any of the following:

  1. Unlawfully harbors or conceals that person. 
  1. Warns that individual of inevitable apprehension or discovery (unless the warning is an attempt to convince another person to comply with the law).
  1. Provides such an individual with money, transport, weapons, disguises, or other means to avoid prosecution or apprehension. 
  1. Uses force, deceptions, or intimidation to prevent or obstruct law enforcement (or others) from discovering or apprehending such an individual.

Generally, hindering prosecution in Missouri is a class A misdemeanor. However, if the other individual’s conduct constitutes a felony, hindering prosecution is a class E felony (sometimes referred to as hindering prosecution in the first degree). 

How Much Time Can You Get For Hindering Prosecution in Missouri? 

Both class A misdemeanors and class E felony convictions can result in incarceration. Learn more about the penalties for hindering apprehension or prosecution below. 

  • Class A Misdemeanor Penalties: Up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,000. 
  • Class E Felony Penalties: Up to four years in prison and fines up to $10,000. 

Examples of Hindering Prosecution 

Unfortunately, many people are charged with hindering prosecution in Missouri for doing what they would consider “the right thing.” 

However, the law doesn’t see it that way. Regardless of if you’re helping a friend, family member, etc., attempting to hinder their prosecution in any way can lead to severe consequences. 

In case you’re unsure of what constitutes hindering prosecution, take a look at a few examples below. 

  1. Suppose John knows that his friend Sally has been charged with crimes against children, and he helps hide her at one of his unoccupied condos in another city. In that case, John would likely face hindering prosecution charges.
  1. Bill tells his mother that he’s being charged with committing assault and battery, but he doesn’t want to go to jail. So, his mother gives him a pocket full of money and the keys to her car to help him avoid prosecution. In that case, she will likely face criminal charges. 
  1. Jennifer learns that her friend Amber is facing drug trafficking charges. She then helps amber dye her hair, shorten it, and otherwise help conceal Amber’s identity. In that case, Jennifer is likely to face criminal charges for hindering prosecution and apprehension.

Any number of actions can constitute hindering prosecution in Missouri.  Generally, if you intentionally help an individual hide or conceal themself from criminal prosecution, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. 

Defenses to Hindering Prosecution Charges

Depending on the details of your case, there are a few potential defenses to hindering prosecution charges. Learn more about each below. 

  • You warned someone of prosecution or apprehension efforts to convince them to turn themselves in or otherwise come into compliance with the law. 
  • You were coerced into helping a fugitive of the law conceal themself.
  • You did not intentionally help them avoid prosecution, arrest, or punishment. 

It’s important to note that every case is different. That’s why it’s essential to consult a criminal defense attorney the moment you’re aware of hindering prosecution charges levied against you. 

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Missouri Today

If you’ve been charged with hindering apprehension, prosecution, or punishment in Missouri, it’s in your best interest to work with a knowledgeable and savvy criminal defense lawyer. 

Our attorneys at Kirsch & Kirsch will listen to your side of the story, conduct an investigation, and mount a solid defense on your behalf. Contact us today to speak with an attorney you can trust.