According to reports out of Midtown Atlanta late last week, the APD and SWAT spent a total of nine hours attempting to get a naked man down from a residential roof.
Multiple streets were closed and the immediate area was secured from 5am to the afternoon. The man is still unidentified but he apparently climbed up to the roof of the house after breaking into the neighbor's duplex. As of right now, the man is facing charges of prowling.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will provide a closer look at the law behind prowling in this state.
Prowling in Georgia
Prowling in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-11-36 as:
A person commits the offense of loitering or prowling when he is in a place at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity.
By law, officers are justified in arresting an individual if he or she takes flight upon seeing a law enforcement officer, refuse to identify themselves, or manifestly endeavor to conceal himself or any object. However before any arrest can be made, a law enforcement officer must afford the suspect an opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern by requesting the person to identify himself and explain his presence and conduct. However, a person cannot be convicted if the officer did not allow them the opportunity to explain their conduct or if their explanation would have dispelled any alarm or immediate concern.
Prowling is also known as loitering in Georgia. The penalty if convicted of either prowling or loitering can include up to 12 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
In order to be convicted of loitering or prowling, the prosecution must demonstrate (as with any other crime) that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The state of Georgia must show that law enforcement gave the individual an opportunity to give an explanation and that it still gave cause for alarm.
Bottom line - a person cannot be convicted of loitering or prowling if their explanation was true, and it dispelled any immediate concern. The policy behind crimes such as loitering and prowling are to promote peace and safety for the public. There are a lot of crimes that have been created under this same policy. These crimes include:
- Public drunkenness in Georgia
- Disorderly conduct in Georgia
- Affray in Georgia
- Littering in Georgia, and etc.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in Georgia, contact our offices today. A Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney can help you today.