Penal Code 647(c) prosecutes aggressive panhandling in California. Some forms of panhandling are legal and protected under the First Amendment. However, individuals who accost others to get money out of them are committing a criminal act.
The Simmrin Law Group provides additional information about aggressive panhandling. We understand the penalties for a PC 647(c) conviction and we’re ready to discuss your legal defenses. Learn more by calling (310) 997-4688 today.
The Legal Definition of Aggressive Panhandling
Aggressive panhandling, also called “soliciting for alms,” refers to begging for money. An individual may directly ask someone for money using aggressive tactics. Individuals should only face PC 647(c) charges if they are panhandling in public.
This criminal offense only occurs if one person accosts another. This can occur if a person:
- Harasses another person
- Intimidates another person
- Makes threats against another person
- Engages in other improprieties
Individuals are not acting aggressive if they sit or stand peacefully while panhandling. For example, sitting on a step with a sign asking for money is not usually considered aggressive panhandling. However, if the sign contained threatening language, this charge may apply.
Public Places in California
Aggressive panhandling charges should only apply if someone was carrying out this action in a public place. Parks, government buildings, and public parking lots are all public places. Other public places include:
- Public transportation systems
Stores and residential buildings are not public places. They are private places. Panhandling in private places should not result in PC 647(c) charges.
Exceptions for the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the Constitution protects free speech. Panhandling is technically a form of speech. Therefore, some forms of panhandling are offered Constitutional protection. For example, individuals are allowed to engage in:
- Solicitation without harassing or threatening conduct
- Solicitation for charitable causes
PC 647(c) is a state-level charge in California. Many cities and municipalities have their own laws on aggressive panhandling. A lawyer from the area where the incident occurred can provide additional information on how to fight this charge. Learn more by calling (310) 997-4688.
There are a number of crimes that are closely related to the offense of aggressive panhandling in California. The court system prosecutes individuals accused of:
- Disturbing the peace
- Disorderly conduct
There are other charges used for panhandling at the local level throughout California. Some areas are harsher on panhandling than others. Contact us to learn more.
Results of a Conviction of Aggressive Panhandling
The courts in California treat aggressive panhandling as a misdemeanor. Convictions for aggressive panhandling can result in:
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Jail time of up to one year
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can provide you with more information about how to fight a PC 647(c) conviction.
Not all accusations for aggressive panhandling result in a criminal conviction. In some cases, a lawyer can help you build a defense to handle these charges. A lawyer can focus on the unique aspects of your case and work to show that:
You Were Not Acting Aggressively
The First Amendment protects many forms of panhandling. Aggressive panhandling is the only form of panhandling prosecuted under PC 647(c). We can help you show that you were not accosting anyone while panhandling. We can prove you didn’t make any threats or harass anyone.
You Were Not in a Public Place
PC 647(c) charges only apply if aggressive panhandling took place in a public location. This means that you may be able to avoid an aggressive panhandling conviction if you were on private property. However, you could face different charges if you were on private property without the permission of the property owner. In this case, you may be charged with trespassing.
Talk to a Lawyer About Aggressive Panhandling
Contact the Simmrin Law Group if you were accused of aggressive panhandling in California. We know how to handle Penal Code 647(c) charges. Allow us to build a defense for you if you were accused of this misdemeanor. Just call (310) 997-4688. We also have an online contact form for clients in your situation.
Let’s go over your legal situation together today with a free consultation.