The court system in California uses Penal Code Section 647(a): Lewd Conduct to prosecute individuals who perform or request sex acts in public. Lewd conduct is a sex crime that can come with serious penalties. Many individuals charged with lewd conduct end up in legal trouble after the police engage in a sting operation.
Understanding lewd conduct charges can be difficult. Getting clear-cut information about these charges can help you grasp the best way to handle any lewd conduct accusation. The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with the facts you need about lewd conduct charges.
Lewd Conduct: Definition in California
Lewd conduct charges involve:
In order to be charged with lewd conduct, a person must touch their own or another individual’s:
Lewd conduct only occurs if the touching occurs in order to:
- Experience Sexual Arousal or Gratification
- Offend or Annoy Someone
Individuals can only be charged with lewd conduct if they were in public or within the view of the public. Additionally, another person must be present at the time the lewd conduct occurred.
Note that you may also be subject to PC 647(a) if you solicit sexual touching from another person while in a public place.
Lewd Conduct: Examples
It can be difficult to understand the exact circumstances that can lead to a lewd conduct charge. Examples of lewd conduct could include:
- A couple went on a date and ended up parked outside of a restaurant. Feeling amorous, they engaged in a sex act in their vehicle while aware that there were other people in the parking lot. Another driver notified the police and the couple faced lewd conduct charges.
- A man at a busy park approached a woman reading on a bench. He sat down and, after exchanging a smile, requested that she perform a sex act. She protested, called the police, and he faced charges for soliciting an act of lewd conduct.
Lewd Conduct: Criminal Penalties
The court system in Los Angeles treats lewd conduct as a misdemeanor. Generally, you may face the following penalties if convicted under PC 647(a):
- 6 Months of Jail Time
- Mandatory Sex Offender Counseling
- Fines and Fees
You will also likely be forced to a submit to an HIV test. Additionally, the court can forbid you from returning to the area where the lewd conduct took place.
Lewd conduct convictions will remain on your criminal record. As with any sex crime, this kind of conviction can make it difficult for you to find work or a place to live.
Lewd Conduct: Possible Defenses
There are a number of possible defenses to a lewd conduct accusation. Your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that you were:
The prosecution must prove that you actually engaged in lewd conduct. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can present evidence and arguments that may prove you never committed an act of lewd conduct.
Out of Public View
Lewd conduct only occurs if sexual touching takes place in a public place or where the public can see what’s going on. You may be able to argue that you were in a private location when sexual activity occurred.
Engaged in Non-Sexual Touching
Individuals should only be convicted of lewd conduct if they were motivated by sexual desire or the intent to offend someone else. Proving that you had a different motivation can help you deal with lewd conduct charges.
A Victim of Entrapment
Sometimes, police officers use undercover operations in order to trick people into committing criminal acts. During this kind of “sting” operation, a police officer is only allowed to set up a situation that could allow for a crime to occur. Police officers that are too aggressive may end up making illegal arrests.
Lewd Conduct: Get the Help You Need
Accusations that you violated of California Penal Code Section 647(a): Lewd Conduct can have far-reaching effects on your life. The Simmrin Law Group can help you address these charges quickly. Our professional sex crimes lawyers in Los Angeles can start working on a defense for you today. Call (310) 997- 4688 or fill out our online contact form to get started.
You can learn more about defenses for lewd conduct charges with a FREE consultation.