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Los Angeles Loitering to Solicit the Purchase of Alcohol

Loitering to Solicit the Purchase of Alcohol in Los Angeles

Many Los Angeles residents enjoy alcoholic beverages on occasion. Whether at a bar, a restaurant or a special event, there is nothing wrong with imbibing, so long as it is done responsibly. However, you may get into legal trouble by asking other people to make alcohol purchases for you.

California law makes it a crime to hang around an establishment and request that other people buy you alcoholic beverages. In some cases, this criminal charge may be used to prosecute people who have engaged in other alcohol-related illegal activities. Check out the rest of this article for an explanation of this offense.

Defining the Crime

Loitering to solicit the purchase of alcohol in Los Angeles is a crime according to Section 303 of the California Penal Code. Under this law, a person may be charged with a criminal offense if they:

  • Loiter in, around or near an establishment which serves alcohol
  • Ask patrons of the establishment or others to make alcohol purchases for them

This law may not be very widely known but it is certainly used in the Los Angeles area. If you have a bit too much to drink and engage in certain behavior near a bar or restaurant, you may find yourself facing an arrest and criminal charges.

Examples of the Crime

Joe has recently been laid off from his job and he decides that he wants a stiff drink. He doesn’t have enough money to buy his own alcohol so he goes to his favorite bar and waits in the parking lot. He approaches every patron that enters or exits the bar and asks them to buy him a drink. He does this for several hours before the bar staff is alerted and the police are called. Joe may be arrested and charged with loitering for the purpose of soliciting the purchase of alcohol.

In another example, Ryan goes to his favorite restaurant with some friends. They drink for several hours until his friends leave for the night. Ryan isn’t done partying but the bartender has cut him off for drinking too much. He hangs around the restaurant and repeatedly asks the guests at the tables near him to continue buying him booze. They refuse and tell the management. Ryan may be arrested and charged with a criminal offense.

Both Joe and Ryan don’t have a lawful reason for hanging around these establishments because they have either have no money to spend or they have been cut off for drinking too much. Since they have no reason to be there, they meet the legal definition of loitering.

Legal Penalties

Loitering to solicit the purchase of alcohol in Los Angeles is a misdemeanor offense. This means that a person convicted of this crime may face:

  • A term of six months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • A term of probation and community service

Legal Defenses

A conviction for loitering to solicit the purchase of alcohol can send you to jail and show up on your criminal record. This can affect future employment opportunities and be extremely embarrassing.

Our law firm can help you fight these charges with a strong legal defense. For example, we may argue that:

  • You had a lawful reason to be in an establishment and therefore were not loitering
  • You did not actually request drinks from other patrons
  • You requested drinks but you were not loitering for that purpose
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