Criminal Defense » Penal password » 647c computer - California Panhandling regulation » 647c pc - California Panhandling Law


California Penal password 647(c)makes that illegal toaccostpeople in public to solicit because that donations. That is frequently referred to as a “panhandling” statute. This violation is a misdemeanorpunishable by approximately one year in ar jail.

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The language of647(c) PC says that “every person who willfully and also maliciously obstructs the cost-free movement of any person on any type of street, sidewalk, or various other public ar or top top or in any type of place open up to the general public is guilty that a misdemeanor. Nothing in this section affects the power of a ar or a city to regulate conduct ~ above a street, sidewalk, or other public location or on or in a place open to the public.”


1. Is panhandling illegal in California?

Yes. Panhandling – the practice of accosting civilization face-to-face in public come beg for money or various other handouts – is versus California legislation under pc 647(c). Another term for panhandling is “soliciting because that alms.”

Penal password 647(c) targets aggressive methods of solicitation. Less aggressive, more passive forms of solicitation tactics may be defended speech. Outlawing them would perhaps violate the very first Amendment.1

Penal password 647(c) is not the just California legislation banning solicitation. Many localities have actually ordinances that prohibit panhandling, as well. This ordinances yet still have to comply v the an initial Amendment.

2. What go it typical to accost someone?

A defendant has to accost someone to hurt Penal code 647(c). Accosting someone is compelled for a violation of computer 647 ar (c). Without it, solicitation is likely a form of totally free Speech and cannot be a crime.

Accosting someone involves much more than merelywalking as much as someone come solicit money.2 It calls for there to be:

Intimidation, Harassment, Threats, or other impropriety.3

Passively sitting or standing and also waiting for a handout does not suffice.4


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3. What is a publicly place?

Penal code 647(c) only applies to public places. Panhandling that happens on personal property have the right to be faced by the home owner.

Where public residential or commercial property ends and private property starts is often more complex than world think.

Public places include:

Sidewalks, Streets, Buses and other public transportation systems, Parks, publicly parking lots, and also Government buildings.

Private places include:

Stores, Parking too many for exclusive stores, purchase malls, many apartment buildings, consisting of common areas in it, and Private property, choose a residence and the yard bordering it.

4. Once ispanhandling safeguarded by the an initial Amendment?

There room several situations where soliciting money is protected by the an initial Amendment.

Charitable solicitations are defended speech.5 The first Amendment forbids state and also federal federal governments from passing regulations that border speech the is protected.

Mere solicitation is additionally likely come be safeguarded speech.6When no accompanied by harassing or threaten conduct, panhandling is permitted.

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5. What room some instances of illegal panhandling?

was standing in former of a car and refusing to relocate until gaining paid, impede a pedestrian’s course on the sidewalk while asking for money, and Following someone roughly asking for a handout.

6. Are there connected offenses?

Violations of Penal code 647(c) can likewise come with various other criminal charges. Several of the most typical include:

7. What are some legit defenses?

People who have been accused the violating pc 647(c) have actually legal defenses at their disposal. They deserve to argue that:

They were not in a windy place and also had the residential or commercial property owner’s permission, your conduct to be not aggressive sufficient to it is in accosting, or They had a very first Amendment appropriate to solicit money.

Soliciting money is only a crime if a defendant accosted who else. If there to be no conduct that amounted come accosting, panhandling is safeguarded speech. The U.S. Constitution avoids local, state, and federal federal governments from passing regulations that prohibit defended speech. This method the an initial Amendment protects panhandling that does not accost someone.

California Penal password 647(c) only applies to conduct excellent on public property. Panhandling on private property falls external the scope of pc 647(c). However, soliciting on exclusive property can lead to trespassing charges uneven the property owner allowed the solicitation,

8. What space the penalties because that a 647c violation?

A violation of Penal password 647(c) is a misdemeanor. The penalties the a conviction include a maximum of: