Criminal Law

2915. Loitering

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with loitering.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant delayed, lingered, prowled, or wandered on the private property of someone else;

2. When the defendant was on that property, (he/she) did not have a lawful purpose for being there;

3. When the defendant was on the property, (he/she) intended to commit a crime if the opportunity arose;


4. The defendant's purpose for being on the property was to commit a crime if the opportunity arose.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.


Elements. Pen. Code, § 647(h).

Specific Intent to Commit Crime Required. In re Cregler (1961) 56 Cal.2d 308, 311-312 [14 Cal.Rptr. 289, 363 P.2d 305]; see In re Joshua M. (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 743, 746-747 [110 Cal.Rptr.2d 662].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Public Peace and Welfare, § 51.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 144, Crimes Against Order, § 144.20 (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)