Beggars Law and Legal Definition

Beggars are typically people who are not able to labor for their living but are driven of necessity to procure the alms and charity of the people. They are commonly found in impoverished countries, some of which have laws aimed at begging practices.

In the U.S., some local jurisdictions have laws aimed at preventing aggressive panhandling and reducing the risk of its citizens being intimidated or assaulted by street solicitors. Such laws impose several restrictions on where and when a beggar may solicit a person for donations and outlaw "aggressive panhandling." For example, beggars may not be permitted to operate between sunset and sunrise, touch the solicited person or approach a person waiting in line. It may also be unlawful to use profane language while asking for money or to block the path of an oncoming citizen.

There are many complex reasons why people beg or end up on the street. Many have spent much of their life in institutions and find there is a lack of support when they leave the care system, prisons or the army. Some may have a mental health issue which is not getting treated. Escaping a situation involving violence or physical, mental or sexual abuse, may be another reason. Some beggars are job-seekers from other areas who have failed to find jobs in the city and are left in dire circumstances. There also are some who make begging a profession and are collecting money fraudulently. Other beggars have drug-abuse related problems and the money they get from well-meaning citizens very often goes to buy drugs.