All About Loitering
Almost every person has teenage memories of hanging out with their friends outside their favorite store or restaurant just for the fun of it. Everyone has at least one story of a cranky store manager or fellow shopper who told them that they couldn’t hang out on store property and asked them to leave. However, it may not be common knowledge that a person can be arrested for hanging out on public property under certain circumstances. If a person was arrested for spending time on public property, then they have been arrested for loitering.
What Is Loitering?
Loitering is simply the act of remaining in a public space for an extended period of time seemingly without any specific purpose of being there. However, the law does distinguish between people who mean no harm and those who are clearly a nuisance or potential danger. Obviously, those who are acting suspiciously or seem to want to commit some other type of crime will be more likely to hang out when asked to leave and arrested for sticking around. Loitering does not have to be an illegal act, and most of the time it can be resolved without police or legal actions taking place.
Most of the time, if a person (or group of people) that is loitering is asked to leave public premises and complies, the authorities will not be involved. However, if an individual refuses to leave or returns to the public location within a certain amount of time, then they can be arrested for failure to disperse. In Utah, failing to move or returning to the location within 8 hours of being asked to leave may result in an arrest.
There are many different kinds of loitering instances. However, some of the most common types of loitering that lead to arrests include:
- Obstructing the entrance to a public place.
- Hanging out in an area with a posted “No Loitering” sign.
- Spending time on a street corner with no apparent reason for being there.
- Standing or sitting outside a business for a long period of time.
The penalties for loitering are typically minor if the person who has been arrested was not committing other crimes simultaneously. Loitering is typically charged as a misdemeanor, which has less severe consequences than a felony charge. There are many different types and classes of misdemeanors with a wide variety of different types of penalties, which are further varied by state laws. In Utah, loitering is typically punishable by community service or fines.
Do You Need A Criminal Defense Attorney?
If you have been arrested for loitering or another crime, you may want to consider reaching out to me, Zachary Holbrook, for criminal defense actions. I can help you better understand the specifics of your case and find the most suitable way to resolve the case. Loitering penalties and consequences can vary by state, which is why you need an attorney to explain Utah’s unique loitering laws. I can offer legal services including case reviews, representation in court, and help reading legal documents. For more information or to get in contact with me, feel free to reach out today.