California Penal Code 647(a) prohibits people from either engaging in, or asking another to engage in, lewd conduct that is in a public place, a place that is open to the public, or a place that is exposed to public view. If you are accused of being lewd in public, you will be charged under Penal Code 647(a) for lewd or dissolute conduct in public, a misdemeanor. Convictions for lewd conduct carry steep penalties. It is imperative that you immediately consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who can help your protect your reputation, future, and freedom by zealously advocating for your rights and defending against false or unfair accusations. To schedule a consultation with the knowledgeable Los Angeles sex crimes attorneys at Criminal Defense Incorporated, call us at (800) 458-1488 today.
Lewd conduct occurs when you touch yourself or another person on the genitals, buttocks, or breasts for either:
• Your (or their) sexual gratification
• The purpose of offending another person
Lewd conduct can involve consensual or nonconsensual sexual contact. However, it must be done in a place where another person can witness the conduct. This means that either other individuals are actually present or you should reasonably know that others may be present. The place may be a public place, such as a public park, or a private place that people frequent, such as a retail store.
In addition, the individuals who are or may be present must be annoyed or offended by your conduct. If these individuals consent to viewing the conduct, such as by visiting a strip club, then any nudity does not qualify as lewd conduct.
Many individuals mistakenly believe that lewd conduct only encompasses actions done in a public setting frequented by many people. However, prosecutors often charge lewd or dissolute conduct under Penal Code 647(a) when the lewd conduct occurs in a private home with the curtains closed but in the presence of a victim.
The following are examples of lewd conduct prohibited under Penal Code 647(a):
• Masturbating on a street corner
• Revealing breasts at a bar to patrons
• Exposing genitals to shoppers
• Grabbing a stranger’s buttocks on the sidewalk
• Having consensual sex on a balcony overlooking a busy street
• Breaking and entering into a stranger’s home and touching one’s genitals in front of the homeowner
Penalties for California Penal Code 647(a) Lewd Conduct
A violation of California Penal Code 647(a) is a misdemeanor that faces up to six months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. Because Penal Code 647(a) is the disorderly conduct statute and not a sex crimes statute, individuals convicted under 647(a) do not have to register as sex offenders.
Fight Your Charges Today
Our criminal defense attorneys are eager to assist Southern California residents with clearing their names and fighting unfounded charges. To speak with us today, call us at (800) 458-1488.