Arrested for a Lewd Act in Public?

How Lewd Conduct is Defined Under California Law

Under California Penal Code Section 647(a), you could be charged with lewd conduct if you engage in lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place or solicit another to do so. This includes touching your private parts, or those of another, for the purpose of sexual gratification or with the intention to annoy or offend someone else. "Private parts" refer to genitals, the buttocks and female breasts. Under this definition, sexual activity in a public place is not, in and of itself, a crime. It only rises to the level of lewd conduct if you knew or reasonably should have known that a third party was present.

The Penalties for Lewd Conduct in Los Angeles, CA

The LAPD takes acts of lewd conduct seriously, and they even go so far as to engage in sting operations to weed out anyone who might commit this sex crime. If you have been arrested on these charges, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and sent to jail. Many lewd acts in public result in a term of probation, a criminal record and a stay away order that will prevent you from returning to the scene of the alleged crime.

The penalties for lewd conduct in public include:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in various fines

You would not be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of lewd conduct in public; however, if your charge is coupled with one of indecent exposure, a potential penalty includes lifetime sex offender registration. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to discuss your case with an experienced criminal attorney in Los Angeles as soon as you have been arrested. Contact our firm now for a free consult!

Defenses to a Lewd Act in Public Charge

There are several strategies for fighting a charge of lewd conduct, and a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can speak with you to get started on the case. You may have been the victim of entrapment, where an undercover cop lures an individual into committing a criminal offense. Deciding this type of case can be somewhat subjective, and it may be possible to argue either that the location was not in fact a "public place," or that there was no likelihood that a third party would be offended by your actions.

Other defenses to a lewd act in public charge include:

  • You did not actually touch your private parts or someone else's
  • You did touch your private parts, but it was not for sexual gratification
  • You were not aware that anyone else was present who would be offended
  • You were not actually in a public place or a place open to public view
  • You were incorrectly identified as the offender by the victim or the police
  • You were the victim of police entrapment or police misconduct

The most important thing you can do right now is to secure representation from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners and get started on a plan to help you avoid a conviction.

Get 70+ Years of Legal Experience On Your Side

Prosecution for lewd acts in public will often also include charges of indecent exposure, and you need to do everything possible to protect your rights. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we focus exclusively on criminal defense, and we will take on the cause of clearing your name with dedication and commitment. Unlike some attorneys, we won't take the easy route and settle for a plea bargain-if going to court is an option that could help you, we won't back off from a trial in order to secure a "not guilty" verdict.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer for dedicated representation when you have been charged with committing a lewd act in public.