Loitering and Prowling in Florida

If accused of Loitering and Prowling, you need to know the:

Definition of Loitering and Prowling

Under Florida Statute 856.021, the crime of Loitering and Prowling is committed when a person:

  1. Loiters or prowls in a manner unusual for law-abiding citizens; and [1]
  2. The person's behavior is alarming in nature, creating an imminent threat to public safety. [2]

Under the statute, alarm is presumed “if the defendant flees, conceals himself or any object, or refuses to identify himself when a law officer appears.” [3]

Penalties for Loitering and Prowling

The crime of Loitering and Prowling is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by any combination of:

  • Up to six months of probation,
  • Up to sixty days in jail, or
  • Up to a $500 fine.

Defenses to Loitering and Prowling

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, a specific defense to the crime of Loitering and Prowling is:

Incomplete Offense

The crime of loitering and prowling must be complete before any police action occurs. Consequently, post-arrest actions by a defendant or evidence discovered incident to the arrest cannot be used, after the fact, to justify an arrest for Loitering and Prowling. [4]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Loitering and Prowling in Orlando or the Central Florida area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.


  1. Rucker v. State, 921 So. 2d 857 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006)
  2. R.M. v. State, 754 So. 2d 849 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000)
  3. C.H.S. v. State, 795 So. 2d 1087, 1090 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)
  4. Stephens v. State, 987 So. 2d 182, 184 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008)