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Loitering Around a Public Toilet or Bathroom

It is a crime in California to loiter around or near a public toilet or bathroom for the purpose of soliciting or engaging in a lewd, lascivious, or unlawful act. Penal Code section 647(d). Loitering is the crime of lingering or remaining in a place without a lawful purpose and for the purpose of committing a crime if the opportunity arises. A "lewd and lascivious act" has broad meaning in California criminal law, but specifically in loitering around a public toilet, the term refers to obscene or indecent sexual acts. These can include indecent exposure, solicitation for prostitution, and engaging in sexual acts in public.

Loitering around a public toilet is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail. Even though loitering around a public toilet is not a major criminal offense, a loitering conviction will be part of your criminal record and show up on background security checks which could threaten your ability to obtain and maintain gainful employment.

Many of the cases involving loitering around a public toilet are undercover sting operations set up in response to community complaints regarding illegal sexual activities in public settings. These undercover sting operations often involve the legal issue of Entrapment. Entrapment is a defense to a loitering charge if the defense proves that the alleged illegal activity was caused by law enforcement's tactics to induce an otherwise law-abiding person to commit a crime, and the person would not have committed the crime but for the fraud or undue persuasion by law enforcement.

If you or someone you know is facing charges from allegations of loitering around a public toilet, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about your rights, defenses, and legal options.