Loitering or Prowling O.C.G.A. 16-11-36

The Atlanta Georgia Crime of Loitering or Prowling is a Misdemeanor Charge

Many people charged with loitering and prowling after a police officer observes them allegedly prowling or loitering. The police often mistakenly assume the individuals are doing some criminal activity instead of just hanging out near a business or store, thereofre, the police charge them with loitering or prowling.

A police officer may use their observation as justification for detaining people they think are actually wanted for a search warranted. They also use the observation to search for drugs and/or weapons. If you are charged with loitering or prowling in Atlanta Georgia, you need to know how to fight the charge.

What is considered Loitering in Atlanta Georgia?

The general definition of loitering involves standing, remaining or wandering around a public place for the purpose a criminal activity. This criminal activity may involve begging for money or something of value, prostitution, gambling or drug activity.

What is considered Prowling in Atlanta Georgia?

While the act of loitering involves standing around in a public place for a criminal activity, prowling is the opposite. Prowling is the criminal act of lurking around an area with the intent to commit a criminal act.

Statute 16-11-36 Makes Loitering or Prowling Illegal in Atlanta Georgia

According to the state’s statute, prowling and loitering occur when you are in an area at a time or manner that is not usual for a law-abiding person. Being in the particular place at a time unusual for law-abiding people causes either immediate concern or reasonable alarm for other people safety. The law also includes the concern for property getting damaged.

The Georgia Law Presumes Guilty according to Your Actions when Approached by Police

A lot of criminal laws do not address behavior as an indication of guilt. The loitering and prowling law does this. It assumes you are guilty of the crime if you run when you see police or police try to interact with you. Other behaviors that may get you in legal trouble with a loitering and prowling law includes:

  • Refusing to identify yourself when talking to police
  • Trying to conceal yourself from police
  • Trying to conceal an object from police

Loitering and Prowling in Atlanta Georgia are different Charges from Other Types of Crimes

You may be wondering why you were charged with loitering and pandering and not disorderly conduct or some other charge. Of course, you may be wondering this after you try to figure out why you are being charged with a crime at all.

Criminal charges differ by elements. For instance, you may have been charged with loitering and prowling instead of disorderly conduct because the latter requires you to act in a violent way. This means you acted in a violent or tumultuous way. Your action placed someone in fear for their safety.

Loitering means that you were allegedly hanging around a place you were not allowed to be standing. Disorderly conduct happens without provocation. This means you would have had to act in a violent way and say things that were vulgar or profane in the presence of a minor. That minor would have to be, at the time of the charge, under 14 years old or younger.

Pandering is another charge that is similar because it is considered street activity. However, it is different from loitering and prowling. Pandering is the illegal act of asking an individual to engage in prostitution. This “asking” in Atlanta Georgia, is called solicitation. Solicitation is the asking of a person to commit a crime.

are accused of hanging around, but not asking another individual to engage in prostitution. Prostitution is the illegal act of offering, accepting or performing a sex act in Atlanta Georgia. Prowling is also different from pandering. Prowling is the illegal act of hanging around and putting someone in fear of their safety, not trying to engage in criminal activity.

Public indecency, another street crime, is extremely different from what you are accused of committing. It involves the illegal act of showing your sexual organs in public. You are not accused of showing your sexual organs in public.

There are some lower offense crimes that your current loitering and prowling charge may be reduced to, but talk to a lawyer. Often, a prosecutor will talk to a lawyer regarding a plea deal. The plea deal will involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge or another crime to avoid the harsh penalty of what you are accused of committing.

To plead guilty to another type of charge means you are admitting guilt. Plea deals are often a way to clear a court docket in Atlanta Georgia. You and your lawyer will have to determine if a plea deal is best for you. However, it is important to note that you may know you are innocent of loitering and prowling and the crime they want you to plead guilty to committing.

Common Defenses to Loitering or Prowling in Atlanta Georgia

Defenses are legal arguments presented to convince a judge or jury of a defendant’s innocence. The defense depends on the facts of your case. Some defenses include having an alibi for the time you were allegedly in front of the business or store.

The statute outlines when you cannot be found guilty of loitering and prowling. The police must give you a chance to identify yourself and give them an explanation of why you were there.

The Punishment in Atlanta Georgia for a Loitering or Prowling

An individual convicted for loitering or prowling faces a misdemeanor punishment. This means they can be sentenced to 12 months in prison and/or pay a fine of $1,000.

The Georgia Defense Force, LLC is Ready to Take Your Loitering or Prowling Charge in Atlanta Georgia

You are a law-abiding citizen in Atlanta Georgia. You were accused of doing standing around or lurking around an area to conduct criminal activity. You have the right to defend yourself against this criminal charge.

We are ready to defend you against this charge. Starting with your free case evaluation, we will determine the best defense strategy to fight the case. Contact us immediately.

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