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PC 647(e) Illegal Squatting in California

PC 647(e): Illegal Squatting

Legal Definition: PC 647(e): “Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it.”

What does this mean?

This section criminalizes unlawful lodging, also known as squatting. This section also includes people who have a temporary shelter, such as a homeless person who sets up a tent or temporary shelter on a person’s property, without that owner’s consent. Even if there is no shelter, it’s still a crime to even sleep on another person’s property, similar to that of trespassing.

Because of the massive homeless population in California, due to high rent prices, and job losses during the pandemic, this crime is quite controversial. In essence, a person unable to live in a home, and therefore sleeps on a street, can be arrested and charged with a crime.

Lodging means that a person is staying in the same area on a long-term basis. Therefore, a tent that a person sets up to sleep on another’s property would be considered lodging, since the person is attempting to remain in the area for some time. Some factors to consider if someone is actually lodging is if there is a temporary shelter if they intend to stay the night, and also if they have a sleeping bag or cot. Loitering, by itself, is not lodging.


A violation under PC 647(e) is a misdemeanor-only offense in California, as opposed to a felony or infraction offense. If convicted, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also face fines up to $1,000, as well as a stay-away order from the property you were residing on.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you could face Deportation in Immigration Court(link) if you were to receive multiple misdemeanor convictions.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Coerced Confessions

A defense to the charge of illegal squatting would be permission from the owner or manager, who has the ability to give that permission, to allow you to reside there. You can be given express permission, such as a person signing an agreement or given verbal permission from the owner to remain. You can also receive implied permission, this is silent, and it is given if the person knows that you are lodging on their property and they do not stop you, then the permission can be implied. Here, if you have permission to reside on the property, then there would be insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this charge.

Also, if police act in violation of your rights, your attorney can argue that the police did an illegal search and seizure, and evidence of the squatting would be suppressed, meaning your case could possibly be dropped. Here, the argument to be made is the police made unlawful contact with you, such as an illegal arrest that violates your rights. If that were to happen, then your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can argue that the illegal arrest means your case should be dismissed or reduced, based on unlawful police contact.

Call Today

Facing a conviction under PC 647(e) can profoundly impact your life, threatening your freedom, reputation, and financial stability. The consequences extend beyond custody time and a criminal record; they also include substantial fines and restrictions that could prevent you from returning to specific areas or engaging in certain activities in the future. At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our Ontario PC 647(e) attorney brings a wealth of experience and a successful track record of defending individuals against such charges, not only in Ontario but across Southern California.

Why Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 647(e) Charges?

  • Extensive Experience with PC 647(e) Charges: Our attorney specializing in PC 647(e) has a demonstrated history of successfully defending thousands of individuals, leveraging in-depth legal knowledge and strategic defense tactics tailored to the nuances of each case.
  • Comprehensive Defense Strategy: Understanding the serious implications of these charges, we are committed to delivering a defense that addresses both the immediate concerns and the long-term consequences of a potential conviction.
  • Dedicated to Safeguarding Your Future: The prospect of facing stiff fines and the loss of freedom underscores the necessity for an aggressive defense. We’re dedicated to advocating for your rights and working tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome.

Start Your Defense with Inland Empire Criminal Defense

The stakes are high with charges under PC 647(e), necessitating prompt and strategic legal action. Located in Ontario and serving clients in Rancho Cucamonga and beyond, Inland Empire Criminal Defense is prepared to offer the experienced and specialized legal representation required to effectively confront these allegations.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

Don’t let charges under PC 647(e) dictate the course of your future. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a consultation. Our team is here to provide you with the support, guidance, and expert defense necessary to navigate through this challenging period. Trust in our expertise and commitment to fight for the best possible outcome for your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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