10th May 2016

Part of the job of a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade is to explain the charges that a particular defendant is facing.  However, this can be difficult in some cases when the charge is complicated and is based on a statute that has several different legal and scholarly interpretations, such as is the case with loitering and prowling charges.  One of the ways that a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade may attempt to explain the crime of loitering and prowling is by explaining the charge through the elements.  For a prosecutor to succeed in convicting the defendant, he or she must show the following:

A Law Enforcement Officers Sees or Learns about through Reliable Hearsay

This crime is different than many others in that a law enforcement officer must see with his or her own eyes or receive reliable hearsay information that criminal behavior is afoot.  While the usual rule is that a law enforcement officer cannot make a warrantless arrest when the defendant is committing a misdemeanor, several Florida appellate cases have rejected this viewpoint regarding loitering and prowling arrests.

The Activity Observed Is of Incipient Criminal Behavior

The behavior that is observed must be of the type that would put a normal citizen in fear.  It occurs at a time or in a way that law-abiding individuals would not conduct such behavior.

The Officer Gives a Miranda Warning and Asks for an Explanation

Although not technically required under the statute, a seminal case has held that a law enforcement officer must provide Miranda warnings before asking the defendant an opportunity to explain his conduct.  An arrest occurs after the law enforcement officer rejects the explanation as being impractical or untruthful.  If the defendant provides a reasonable explanation, the officer has the duty to verify or disprove the explanation before arresting the defendant.

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