Los Angeles Loitering Lawyer
Have you recently been charged with loitering in Los Angeles, California? The Los Angeles loitering lawyers at The Rodriguez Law Group want to help you fight back. Any criminal charge should be taken extremely seriously to avoid penalties and a potential criminal record.
Our legal team prides itself on aggressively representing every single client. We have a track record of hard-fought trial victories. We’ve also favorably resolved thousands of cases before trial. No matter what strategy is appropriate in your case, we want to fight hard for your reputation and innocence.
How The Rodriguez Law Group Will Help With Loitering Charges in Los Angeles
Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers know exactly what to do to begin fighting the charges against you. We begin every case with new clients the same way—with the initial interview. At this interview, we want to know your side of the story. We also want to learn more about who you are.
Then, we design a defense strategy unique to you.
Some crucial actions we may take in your case include:
- Demanding every shred of evidence from prosecutors
- Sending investigators to search for exculpatory evidence
- Filing motions in court to have evidence thrown out
- Cross-examining witnesses for lies and inconsistencies
- Taking your case to trial with a jury if necessary
Our founding attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez, has more than 21 years of experience in criminal law. Much of this experience was as a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office. Now, he prides himself on his ability to use his extensive trial experience to help all of his clients get back to their everyday life as quickly as possible.
Attorney Sommer Salam also worked as a prosecutor for eight years before joining the Rodriguez Law Group as a defense lawyer. Her track record in court is untarnished—she has never lost a trial in her entire career. Her thorough and aggressive approach gives her clients peace of mind that no stone is being left unturned.
After being charged with loitering, you may feel scared and confused about what will happen next. When you hire us to represent you, you are hiring an incredibly experienced and compassionate legal team. We will work closely with you to make sure you receive the attention and defense you deserve.
What is the Crime of Loitering in Los Angeles?
Loitering in Los Angeles can be charged in many different ways depending on the circumstances. There are several different types of formal loitering charges. In addition, there is criminal trespassing. Criminal trespassing is how the police frequently arrest people for loitering on private property.
Loitering charges are issued under a few different statutes, including:
- Loitering without lawful business for the purpose of committing a crime (PC 647(h))
- Loitering to engage in prostitution (PC 653.22)
- Loitering to solicit prostitution
- Loitering near posted industrial property (PC 555)
- Loitering to solicit the purchase of alcohol (PC 303(a))
- Loitering near a school (PC 653(b))
- Trespassing (PC 602(t)(1))
You may have noticed that the loitering crimes listed do not prohibit loitering in general. Instead, all the laws prohibiting loitering are very specific.
This is because in California, blanket laws prohibiting all loitering have been struck down as unconstitutional. Anti-loitering laws were struck down for violating the First Amendment right to Freedom of Assembly and for violating the Fifth and 14th Amendment due process protections against overly vague laws. Now, only specific types of loitering are illegal, such as those listed above.
How the State Proves Loitering Charges
The most common type of loitering charge is “loitering without lawful business to commit a crime.” This crime has five elements that the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you.
To prove loitering in this instance, the state must prove:
- The defendant
- Delayed or lingered
- On private property
- Without lawful business with the owner
- For the purpose of committing a crime
The key here is that the state is required to prove that you:
- Had no legal business with the owner; and
- That you were there to commit a crime if the opportunity presented itself
The first of these elements can be difficult to prove if the private property was a business open to the public. The second element can be hard to prove if you took no action that indicated intent to commit a crime.
The Rodriguez Law Group knows how to defend against murky allegations and questionable evidence if the state is accusing you of unlawful loitering.
The Connection Between Loitering and Trespassing
Sometimes, police officers arrest people for the crime of trespassing to go after people accused of loitering. This is a way the city of Los Angeles may try to get around the prohibition on generalized loitering laws.
While there are many different types of trespassing under PC 602(t)(1), the broadest trespassing provision contains the following elements:
- The defendant
- Refused or failed to leave
- Private property (whether open to the public or not)
- After being informed by the owner, owner’s agent, or police that the property is no longer open to that individual person.
This law allows property or business owners to kick people out. They can be arrested if they don’t leave. This law is often used to get rid of people suspected or accused of loitering. In practice, the property owner may inform the individual to leave, then call the police for help.
No matter which loitering crime you are accused of or charged with, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can help you assert your rights and fight back. Contact us today if you need help.
What are the Penalties for Loitering?
Loitering and trespassing are typically misdemeanor crimes. For example, loitering in violation of PC 647(h) and trespassing in violation of PC 602(t)(1) are both misdemeanor crimes.
A misdemeanor in California is punishable by:
- Up to six months in the county jail and/or
- A fine of up to $1,000
In some cases, probation may be granted in place of jail time. However, violating the terms of probation can lead to the jail sentence being served. Other penalties like community service may also be on the table.
The criminal complaint against you will contain the specific charges you are facing. It will also state the maximum penalty if convicted. You should work with your criminal defense lawyer to determine the severity of your unique charges.
Sometimes the worst thing about being convicted of loitering or trespassing is having a criminal record. The Rodriguez Law Group understands how scary all of these penalties can be to you. When you hire us to represent you, we fight as hard as we can to avoid a conviction and these penalties.
What Defenses are Available to Loitering Charges?
Every case is unique. Our Los Angeles loitering lawyers will need to carefully review the allegations against you to build your defense. Our background as prosecutors helps us understand what the state is thinking. That helps us as we develop a strong defense for you.
We use some of the following legal defense strategies to defend those accused of loitering or trespassing:
- Proving you had lawful business there
- Proving you were invited onto the property or weren’t asked to leave
- Showing that you had no intent to commit a crime
- Arguing that the police violated your constitutional rights
Your story is important. We’ll listen to you when you tell us everything about what happened. You may be able to point us to witnesses who can corroborate your story.
When we argue that the police violated your constitutional rights, this typically means they violated your Miranda rights or your Fourth Amendment rights. These rights involve the privilege against self-incrimination and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and unlawful arrest.
An example of a Miranda violation would be the police arresting you then asking you if you were at the property. You end up admitting you were there. However, the police were required to advise you of your right to remain silent before asking you questions after arrest. Your admission was unlawfully obtained in this example.
When the police violate your rights, we can sometimes have key evidence thrown out of court. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you.
No matter which loitering crime you have been charged with, the Rodriguez Law Group will work hard to develop the right defense strategy for you.
Contact Our Los Angeles Loitering Lawyers For a Free Consultation
If you are accused of loitering, you need an experienced and aggressive Los Angeles loitering lawyer on your side.
With extensive trial experience and the insight gained as former prosecutors, we give you a unique advantage in pushing back against the state’s case. We have successfully handled thousands of misdemeanor cases.
Contact The Rodriguez Law Group right away for your free consultation. Don’t waste any more time while the state is building its case against you!
Last Updated on November 22, 2021