What is Lewd Conduct in Public?

lewd conduct in public
You violate Penal Code 647(a) when you engage in lewd or debauched conduct in any public place or you solicit someone else to do so. Lewd conduct is when you touch your private parts or another person’s private parts for the purpose of sexual gratification or to annoy or offend someone else in public. Private parts mean the genitals, the buttocks, or a female breast. In order to be guilty, the prosecutor must prove the following facts.

  • You willfully engaged in touching your own or another person’s private parts,
  • You did this with the intent to sexually gratify or arouse yourself or another person or to annoy or offend another person,
  • You did so in a public place,
  • Someone else who may have been offended was there,
  • You knew or reasonably should have known that someone who may have been offended was present.

Penalties for Lewd Conduct in Public

Lewd conduct in public is a misdemeanor and the maximum punishment includes:

  • A jail sentence up to six months, and/or
  • A fine up to $1,000.

Sometimes, instead of jail time or less jail time, judges will give you misdemeanor probation which can include fines, counseling, an AIDS test, and a restriction from the location of the crime.
Lewd conduct in public is often charged along side indecent exposure, which requires you to register as a sex offender. If you are not charged with indecent exposure and only charged lewd conduct in public, you do not have to register as a sex offender.

Legal Defenses for Lewd Conduct in Public

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the charges of this crime. The most common legal defenses for lewd conduct in public include the following.

You didn’t do it

If you didn’t engage in the behavior that you are being accused of, you can’t be guilty of this crime. The prosecutor has to prove that you engaged in this criminal activity.

You touched yourself, but not for sexual gratification

It’s possible that you were touching yourself because you were going to urinate or you had an itch. If the prosecution can’t prove that you did it for sexual gratification, then you aren’t guilty.

You reasonably believed that there was no one present that could have been offended

Unless you reasonably believed that someone wouldn’t see you then you can’t be guilty.

You were not in a public place or in public view

Lewd conduct in a private place is not illegal unless the public can view it. So if you engaged in lewd conduct in a private place that was not viewable to the public, it is not a crime.

The police used entrapment

The police cannot induce a normal law abiding citizen into commiting a crime that he or she wasn’t going to commit otherwise. They can’t use pressure, fraud, harassment, threats, or flattery.

Fresno Lewd Conduct in Public Lawyer

If you have been charged with lewd conduct in public, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the charges.

Any questions? Contact us.

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