11th Oct 2016
When confronting serious charges involving loitering and prowling, it is in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade. He or she can review the charges against you. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade can explain if any of the following defenses may apply to your case.
No Criminal Act
While someone may be suspected of loitering and prowling when he or she appears to be at a suspicious place at a specific time, Florida does not criminalize mere idleness. Likewise, law enforcement cannot detain or arrest someone simply because he or she has a vague suspicion about the suspect’s presence. Florida case law shows that the mere presence of a person by a closed business, in a dark alley or in an area where burglaries have recently occurred do not provide sufficient grounds to substantiate a conviction for this crime.
No Breach of the Peace
In order for the prosecution to sustain a charge for loitering and prowling, it must show that a breach of peace is imminent. This means that the defendant’s conduct must be such that he or she appears about to break a meaningful law that would put a reasonable person in fear that property or someone would be damaged or harm.
Police Not There
This charge is specific in that a law enforcement officer must personally observe the suspect committing the crime in order to detain or arrest him or her. If a person reports the suspect’s behavior and law enforcement immediately arrests him or her without personally observing the defendant, the charge cannot stand.
If law enforcement suspects a person of committing this crime, he or she should ask the defendant why he or she is present and dispel the law enforcement officer’s alarm.