Have you Been Charged with Loitering or Prowling in Georgia?
Malls, parks, subdivisions, and other public areas generally have no loitering signs. This rule was established in order to promote peace and safety for people in these areas. If you or a loved one has been charged with loitering or prowling, contact our offices today. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Loitering Lawyers have over 50 combined years of criminal experience so let our expertise help you with your case. Contact our offices today.
Georgia Law on Loitering or Prowling
O.C.G.A. §16-11-36 states that 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.
Officers are justified in arresting a suspect if they take flight upon seeing a law enforcement officer, refuse to identify themselves, or manifestly endeavor to conceal himself or any object. Fleeing from the scene is circumstantial evidence of consciousness of guilt. St. Louis v. State, 328 Ga. App. 837, (2014).
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. No one can 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.
What Has to be Proven to be Convicted
To be convicted of loitering, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They must also show that law enforcement gave the suspect an opportunity to give an explanation and it still gave cause for alarm.
Penalty for a Loitering Conviction
A conviction for loitering or prowling will be considered a misdemeanor. The consequences for a misdemeanor include a fine up to $1,000 or jail time up to one year, or both.
Georgia Defenses to Loitering or Prowling
There was a reasonable explanation for the loitering: A person cannot be convicted of loitering if their explanation was true and it dispelled any immediate concern.
Don't wait to schedule your free consultation with Lawson and Berry and their team of Loitering Attorneys. We are here to help 24/7 including nights, weekends and holidays. We care about your case just as much as you do so let our knowledge and experience work for you! We promise to build the best defense possible because we know the law and we know how to make it work for you.