Loitering or Prowling

helps people defend against
Loitering or Prowling

Loitering or Prowling is a crime that is often charged by police when someone is in an area and the police think they are going to commit a burglary or some other crime, but have no evidence of any crime.  Police officers often charge this crime when there is no factual basis to obtain a conviction and when the citizen is engaged in lawful, constitutionally protected conduct.  Call us to discuss your loitering or prowling case. 
What is Loitering or Prowling?

Loitering or Prowling is defined in Florida Statute Section 856.021.  To prove Loitering or Prowling, the State must prove:
  • You loitered or prowled in a place, at a time, or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals, and
  • such loitering and prowling was under circumstances that warranted justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for safety of persons or property in the vicinity. 

What circumstances would cause alarm or immediate concern?

Some of the circumstances that the courts have held may cause alarm and immediate concern to support a loitering or prowling conviction are:

  • fleeing when you see a law enforcement officer
  • refusing to identify yourself
  • attempting to conceal yourself or an object.

Can a police officer arrest me for Loitering or Prowling just because I'm somewhere they think is unusual?

Unless you flee or there is some other reasonable reason why the police officer can't ask you, the law requires the officer to afford you the opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern by identifying yourself and explaining your presence and conduct. 

What is the potential sentence for Loitering or Prowling?

Loitering or Prowling is a Second Degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail

What are the possible defenses to Loitering or Prowling?

The most common defense to Loitering and Prowling is that your conduct did not rise to the level that warranted justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of people or property.  Many people are arrested for Loitering or Prowling for simply standing around.  They may be prejudged or profiled because of the way they look or how they dress. The actions or conduct the officer thought rose to level of alarm often are actions of a person minding their own business and not engaged in any criminal conduct.  Give us a call to discuss the options in your Loitering or Prowling case. 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Loitering or Prowling,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)

407-228-2019 (Orlando). 

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