Loitering is considered a criminal act in the state of California. Individuals who linger near schools or other places where children normally congregate may face a more specific charge under California Penal Code Section 653(b): Loitering at a School.
PC 653(b) is designed to protect children from potential predators. You can learn more about the applications of loitering at a school charges with the professionals at the Simmrin Law Group. Consider legal defenses for PC 653(b) charges and the results of a conviction for loitering at a school.
Defining the Act of Loitering at a School
PC 653(b) provides a legal definition of loitering at a school. According to this charge, individuals commit a criminal act if they linger around:
- Any School.
- Any Public Place Where Children Congregate Normally.
Note that merely lingering around a place where children are normally found is not enough to lead to PC 653(b) charges. An individual must be lingering:
- Without Any Lawful Purpose.
- While Intending to Carry Out a Criminal Act If Given the Opportunity.
Additionally, individuals can be charged under PC 653(b) if they re-enter an area where children typically congregate within 72 hours of being asked to leave by an official.
Considering Charges Similar to Loitering at a School
The court system in California uses many different legal codes to prosecute individuals who harass, threaten, or harm minors. Examples of these charges can include:
- California Penal Code Section 207: Kidnapping.
- California Penal Code Section 278: Child Abduction.
- California Penal Code Section 647.6: Annoying or Molesting a Child.
Individuals who commit sex crimes against minors may face especially harsh penalties. Generally, a conviction for a sex crime involving a minor will require individuals to pay fines, spend time behind bars, and register as a sex offender in California.
Going Over the Penalties for PC 653(b) Convictions
Loitering at a school can have a number of different penalties, depending upon the criminal history of the individual accused of violation PC 653(b). Let’s go over the different results of a PC 653(b) conviction right now:
PC 653(b) Convictions for Individuals Without a Criminal Record
A first-time conviction for loitering at a school may lead to fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to six months. An individual previously convicted of a PC 653(b) violation could face increased fines of up to $2,000.
PC 653(b) Convictions for Registered Sex Offenders
If an individual was required to register as a sex offender and violated PC 653(b), they could face harsher penalties, even for a first-time conviction. An initial conviction for loitering at a school in this situation could lead to:
- Fines of Up to $2,000.
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months.
PC 653(b) Convictions Tied to Gang Crime Enhancements
The state of California can harshly punish individuals involved in gang activity by adding enhancements to their criminal sentences. Individuals accused of PC 653(b) violations who have previous ties to gang crimes may face fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year. Subsequent convictions can result in higher fines.
Focusing on Legal Defenses for Loitering at a School
You can reach out to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer today if you are accused of loitering at a school. Getting legal help quickly can improve your odds of beating the charges you are facing. A legal professional can assess your situation and may be able to show that:
You Had a Reason for Being at a School
We mentioned that PC 653(b) charges should only apply if you loiter at a school without a lawful reason. If you had a legitimate reason for lingering around a school – or another place where children regularly gather – then you should not be convicted under PC 653(b).
You Did Not Intend to Commit a Criminal Act
Individuals can also face PC 653(b) charges if they plan to carry out a criminal act. However, it can be difficult for prosecutors to know exactly what you planned to do. A criminal defense lawyer can argue that your intentions were not dangerous to the children at a school or in another public place.
Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help with PC 653(b) Accusations
Make sure you’re ready to handle California Penal Code Section 653(b): Loitering at a School charges by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer today. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can start working for you right now. Just complete our online contact form or call 310-991-4688.
You can begin building your defense today with a FREE initial case evaluation.