Thank you for asking me “What is Loitering or Prowling in FL?”
F.S. 856.021 is the Loitering and Prowling statute. In order to be found guilty the State must prove the following 2 elements:
1) That a person is in a place, at a time or in a manner, that is unusual for law-abiding citizens and 2) that person’s presence occurred under circumstances that warranted either A) a justifiable and reasonable alarm or B) immediate concern for the safety or persons or property in the vicinity (in other words, the person’s behavior must be either alarming in nature or create an imminent threat to public safety.)
To be arrested for L&P a cop must both observe suspicious conduct which is not usual for law-abiding citizens and, contemporaneously, the cop must have a justifiable and reasonable alarm, meaning either an immediate concern of imminent criminal activity or of an imminent threat to public safety and order.
While a citizen can call the cops and advise of someone that they believe to be loitering or prowling, in order for a lawful arrest to occur the cop must actually witness it and do the math for her or himself.
That said, under the statute, a cop can presume alarm where a subject flees, conceals himself or any object, or, if when asked by a cop, a subject refuses to identify himself.
A good example of L&P occurred where a cop observed a juvenile at 11:30 pm standing in a commercial shopping plaza which had no open businesses and pulling on various business’ rear door handles.
In that case the cop simultaneously observed suspicious conduct which is not usual for law-abiding citizens and had a reasonable alarm (i.e. an immediate concern of imminent criminal activity).
At Michael A. Haber, PA “it’s all about reasonable doubt”!
Please note that no attorney-client relationship with either Michael A. Haber, PA or Michael A. Haber, Esq. exists as a result of your watching this Webisode series. Further any and all information which is both contained in and may be construed from this Webisode series is generic in nature and should only be considered as informational and not as actual legal advise in any specific case. Should you wish to seek actual legal advise then please feel free to contact Michael A. Haber, Esq. as follows:
Office Phone: 305-381-8686
Toll Free Phone: 1-888-SHARK-8-1
Cellular Phone / Text: 305-798-2220
E-Mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
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