Under California PC647(i),

Except as provided in paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) and subdivision (l), every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:


(i) Who, while loitering, prowling, or wandering upon the private property of another, at any time, peeks in the door or window of any inhabited building or structure, without visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant.

The language in this section suggests the space must be occupied at the time the act is done, because of the term "inhabited." Is this a valid interpretation or can "inhabited" simply mean "owned/rented", e.g. it may be that the occupant has gone to the market but does currently live there.

2 Answers 2


The section of the same penal code on assault and battery says this:

As used in this section, “inhabited” means currently being used for dwelling purposes, whether occupied or not.

The section on arson:

"Inhabited” means currently being used for dwelling purposes whether occupied or not. “Inhabited structure” and “inhabited property” do not include the real property on which an inhabited structure or an inhabited property is located.

Everywhere "inhabit" is used in this code and explained, the explanation is consistent: inhabited means used (and, possibly, intended to be used) for human habitation, whether occupied at the time or not.

  • Yes, I read another penal code section recently that clarified this. An additional point that helped me was the idea that a structure or dwelling that is inhabited but unoccupied is one to which the inhabitant intends to return.
    – kleinerde
    Apr 16, 2018 at 19:01

Inhabited means inhabited (i.e. not derilict) - if they meant occupied they would have said occupied.

  • I can have two homes. While i'm staying in one, that doesn't make the other derelict but it does, in my eyes, make it uninhabited.
    – kleinerde
    Mar 16, 2018 at 1:58
  • 1
    As usual, the matter of fact answer provided here is far from satisfactory.
    – A.fm.
    Apr 15, 2018 at 9:32
  • @A.fm. By and large law is matter of fact
    – Dale M
    Apr 15, 2018 at 12:55
  • 1
    Yes and unsubstantiated statements carry no weight.
    – A.fm.
    Apr 15, 2018 at 13:10
  • @TQuile1948 in the eyes of the law, it appears that your occupation of a second home makes your first unoccupied, not uninhabited.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2018 at 1:30

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