11th Jan 2016
A criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade can explain that the first step to criminal defense is to look at the specific language in the statute under which the defendant is being charged. In order for the prosecution to secure a conviction, he or she must be able to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the loitering and prowling statute, a criminal defense attorney in Miami Dade may raise defenses in relation to the following:
Place, Time or Manner of Action
The first element to a loitering and prowling charge is that the defendant loitered or prowled “in a place, at a time, or in a manner” that is unusual for law-abiding citizens. Someone who is merely idle or vagrant does not have reason to be detained under this charge. Likewise, simply by being around a business that is closed or at night is inadequate to support a conviction.
Circumstances Caused Justified Alarm or Concern
The second element to this crime is that the loitering or prowling occurred under such situations that would warrant “justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern” regarding people’s safety or property near the defendant. In order to detain a person under this charge, the defendant’s conduct must have come close to committing or attempting to commit a crime. To determine whether such alarm or concern was present, the fact finder can consider evidence such as whether the defendant ran away once spotted by police, whether he or she attempted to hide or whether the defendant refused to identify himself.
In order to support a conviction the above two elements must be observed by law enforcement. An anonymous tip that is then unsupported by police observation is inadequate for a conviction.