The second police officer was called to back-up an officer and an FPL representative at a marijuana grow house. The suspects inside the house had fled on foot. The police officer deployed a K-9 Unit to track down the suspects. The K-9 unit caught a heavily sweating, shirtless suspect hiding under bushes and brush. The defendant was arrested and charged with Loitering and Prowling.
Loitering and Prowling
A loitering and prowling charge can occur when an individual has a suspicious presence in an unusual time, manner, or place. Circumstances warrant an indication of a threat of a person’s safety or the safety of a property.
In a loitering and prowling case, the prosecution must prove that the accused was loitering or prowling at an unusual time, manner, or place with a suspicious presence. They will also need to prove the accused’s behavior warranted justifiable and reasonable alarm, or that there was an immediate concern for the safety of others or their property.
Penalties for loitering and prowling include up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. It is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor.
Defenses to Loitering and Prowling
The following defenses can be used in a loitering and prowling case:
- Mere idleness, vagrancy, or suspicious presence – A law enforcement officer must have more than a vague suspicion about the individual in order to place them under arrest. Standing in a dark alley at night does not constitute a right to arrest an individual.
- No imminent threat – An arrest is unlawful and cannot be held up in court if the defendant was not posing a threat to society or other’s property.
- Police were not present – Loitering and prowling must be directly seen by a police officer in order for the suspect to be arrested for this. If a report of loitering or prowling is called in, an officer cannot arrest the individual based on what the anonymous person told them.
- No option to explain – If the police officer arresting the offender does not give them a reason to explain why they were where they were at the time, the conviction will not stand up in court.
Retaining a Musca Law Firm Attorney
A loitering and prowling charge is not something that you want on your permanent record. If you have been accused of this crime, you need legal representation in court. You should not attempt to represent yourself with this charge, as an experienced lawyer will be able to provide legal assistance necessary for you to obtain the best outcome for your case. With over 150-years of combined legal experience among our team of criminal defense attorneys, Musca Law Firm is able to negotiate with the prosecution in order to have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. We have defended many clients against a wide range of criminal charges, and are capable of building a strong and strategic legal defense on your behalf based on the specifics of your case. We have multiple offices across the state of Florida for your geographical convenience. We offer a free, no-obligation initial case consultation and answer our phones 24/7 to be available when you need us. Don’t hesitate to call our office today at (888) 484-5057 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.
RESULT: The Musca Law attorney entered into discussions with the prosecution over the details of the charges against the client. The defense attorney convinced the prosecution not to move forward with the case, and all charges against our client were DROPPED!