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Lewd Conduct

Have you been accused of Lewd Conduct in Public in Los Angeles?

California Penal Code Section 647(a) outlines California’s law against lewd conduct in public. Pursuant to Penal Code 647(a) it is a crime to touch your private parts or someone else's private parts for the purpose of sexually gratifying yourself or someone else, or to offend another person.

Lewd conduct charges are serious, and a conviction can have devastating consequences. If you are facing charges for Indecent Exposure in Los Angeles, or the surrounding counties, contact experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Miles Booth at 424 272 1134.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Miles Booth

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

How does the prosecution prove that I am guilty of Lewd Conduct in Public?

CALCRIM 1161 lays out the elements that the prosecutor must prove for you to be found guilty of lewd conduct in public in California. To be convicted of lewd conduct in public under Penal Code Section 314 the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you;

  • Willfully touched your own, or another persons genitals, butt, or boobs;
  • With the intent to sexually arouse or gratify yourself or another person, or to annoy or offend another person
  • When you engaged in the conduct, you were in a public place or a place open to the public, or public view;
  • When you engaged in the conduct, someone else was present who might have been offended; and
  • You knew or reasonably should have known that another person who might have been offended by your conduct was present

Lets take a closer look at how the court defines these elements;


Willfully

Willfully means on purpose or intentionally.

Offended or Annoyed

Your intended audience is irrelevant, so long as they may be offended or annoyed by your behavior.

Lewd Conduct

Pursuant to 647(a) lewd conduct means touching your own or another person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts for the purpose of your own or another person’s sexual gratification.

Intent to Sexually Gratify or Offend

Penal code section 647(a) doesn’t contain any language regarding intent. It only prohibits lewd or dissolute conduct, as defined above.  Courts have ruled that lewd conduct is based on a reasonable person standard and refers specifically conduct that is sexual in nature. If you did not intend to arouse or annoy another person you will not be guilty under this statute.

Public Place

In order to be in violation of California Penal Code 647(a) the conduct must take place in (1) a public place, or (2) a place open to the public or (3) open to public view. Your home, closed business or hotel are not considered public. However, they may be if they are exposed to public view. For reference, California courts have considered cars parked on a public street as “public” for purposes of this statute.

What Does it Mean that Another Person Might Have Been Offended?

To be guilty under California Penal Code 647(a) you must know, or reasonably should have known of the presence of someone who is likely to be offended. Just because there is a chance that someone will see you is not enough. If there is no one present, or you reasonably didn’t think anyone would be present, then the conduct is not a violation of 647(a), even if it was in a public location. 

How can I defend myself against a charge for Lewd Conduct in Public?

A lewd conduct conviction can seriously damage your reputation and have far reaching consequences. For this reason it is imperative that you hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer.

Some of the most common legal defenses to an lewd conduct in Public charge are;

Your Conduct was not for the Purpose of Sexual Gratification

If, for example, you were applying a cream to your genitals or washing them in a public shower, you would not be guilty of lewd conduct.

You were in a Private Location

If, for example, you were in your home or a location only you should have access to you should not be guilty of lewd conduct.

You Reasonably Thought that no one was Present who would be Offended by the Conduct

If, for example, you were having sex in a secluded part of the woods at night it would not be reasonable to expect anyone to show up, and you would not be guilty of lewd conduct.

Just because you have been accused of lewd conduct does not mean that you will be convicted. Call Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Miles Booth to discuss how to best defend your case.

What are the Penalties for a Lewd Conduct in Public conviction?

Under California Penal Code Section 647(a) a lewd conduct conviction is a misdemeanor, and is punishable by;

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • 3 years summary probation, and/or
  • A $1,000 fine

Does a conviction for Lewd Conduct in Public require sex offender registration?

No, a lewd conduct conviction does not require registration as a sex offender. However, Indecent Exposure under Penal Code section 314 (link) does require registration as a sex offender, and is frequently charged together with lewd conduct.

Contact Los Angeles Criminal defense attorney miles booth

Facing charges for lewd conduct in public can be overwhelming. Your housing, future job prospects, and most importantly, immediate freedom are in jeopardy.It is foolish to fight these cases alone. It is important to have a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side.

Miles Booth will work tirelessly to defend you, and get the best possible outcome in your case. Miles Booth has handled thhousands of cases throughout Los Angeles County and understands the steps necessary to best defend you.

To learn more about your options going forward, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, Miles Booth, for a free consultation at 424 272 1134.

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