17th Jun 2016

A criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade protects the civil liberties of individuals charged with criminal offenses such as loitering and prowling. A skilled criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade will explain the nature of the charges to his or her client and then explain what potential defenses may be available given the particular circumstances of the case.

Elements of Loitering and Prowling

In order for the prosecutor to prevail, he or she must prove each essential element of the crime by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of loitering and prowling, the prosecution must first establish that the defendant was loitering or prowling in a place, at a time or in an unusual manner for law-abiding citizens. Then, the prosecution must show that the loitering or prowling occurred in such a way that it warranted reasonable and justifiable alarm or immediate concern for the people or property in the area around you.

Potential Defenses

There are many potential defenses to a charge of loitering and prowling. Each of the above stated elements carries with it a number of clauses that are subject to interpretation. For example, in the first element, the prosecution must show that the loitering or prowling occurred in some type of unusual manner for a person who obeys the law. However, a person cannot be convicted simply because he or she was idle or happened to be waiting somewhere. Being somewhere late at night does not necessarily draw an inference of illegal behavior, given that law-abiding people may be going to restaurants, clubs or work during late hours.

Likewise, simply because someone got startled at the presence of another does not meet the definition for the second element. Such concern or alarm must be reasonable and justifiable under the particular circumstances of the case. Due to the specificity of this statute, having a criminal defense lawyer on the onset can help clear up confusion regarding the defendant’s presence. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to secure a plea bargain or a dismissal of the charges based on the particular circumstances of the case.

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