Loitering is considered to be a criminal offense in many places. It consists of “hanging around” often in private places, with no apparent purpose. Even in public settings, such as, for example, on the steps of a museum, standing around without going anywhere, can be construed as loitering, and may be prohibited by law. While idle standing in and of itself may portend no criminal activity, hanging around without any apparent purpose may pose a threat to shoppers, museum-goers, local patrons or residents.
In the same vein, some communities outlaw panhandling, begging and other visible displays of public vagrancy. Similarly, some states or municipalities make it a crime to “prowl” the streets at night in such a manner as to warrant alarm for the safety or person or property in the vicinity.
In Pennsylvania, for example, a state statute, 18 P.S. § 5506, reads as follows:
“Whoever at night time maliciously loiters or maliciously prowls around a dwelling house or any other place used wholly or in part for living or dwelling purposes, belonging to or occupied by another, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.”
If you or someone you know has been charged in a loitering, prowling or related offense, please contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick at 1-866-337-2900 for a free case evaluation.