Lewd acts do not mean appearing nude in public or streaking, flashing, or mooning, usually a disorderly persons offense if done in jest, or perhaps an issue involving mental illness. A lewd act necessarily means that a person has publicly engaged in certain offensive behavior, or has solicited someone to do so.
Being charged with lewd conduct can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony in some cases. It is a criminal offense and may require you in certain circumstances to register as a sex offender. Your future depends on being represented by a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney like James Silverstein.
Elements of Lewd Conduct
- The person touched his or her own genitals or intimate areas or that of another person’s
- The person intentionally engaged in the conduct to sexually arouse or gratify him or herself, or to offend a third party
- The act was performed in a public place
- There was another person present who was or could have been offended and the accused knew of the other person’s presence
The main element of this offense is that there be another person present who was or could have been offended by the act. If the defendant tried to hide his or her conduct or reasonably believed that no other person was present who could have been offended, then the elements of the crime have not been met.
Examples of Lewd Conduct
- Engaging in a sexual act in a place exposed to public view such as a park, store, movie theater, car, or on the street.
- A public sexual act including touching your genitals, buttocks, or breasts, or those of another person who has consented to the touching.
- In many cases, undercover sting police “cruise” public restrooms looking for gay men who may agree to engage in a sexual act.
Many times, the involved party or parties may be trying to hide their behavior to not offend anyone. Hiding in a remote area of a park or in a secluded area of a building may indicate that there was no intention to engage in a sexual act in public or in the presence of someone who could be offended.
This could change, however, if you do become aware of someone else’s presence and continue to engage in the act.
Lewd conduct by yourself or with an adult is generally a misdemeanor. Defendants may face probation, fines, and possibly jail of 6-months up to one year and mental illness treatment if a multiple offender. A lewd conduct offense may not require the defendant to register as a sex offender, depending on the state and the circumstances.
If a child is involved, the charges can be much more severe. It can be a felony with state prison time of several years and a requirement you register as a sex offender.
Retain the services of James Silverstein if you have been charged with a lewd conduct charge. Call his office today for a free consultation.