Lewd conduct charges are typically associated with any type of lewdness, sexually obscene or objectionable behavior occurring in public. Lewd conduct does cover a wide variety of behaviors and situations, but in a nutshell, it is typically in some way sexually motivated or explicit and going on in a place where somebody in the general public might see it. Most of the time, a lewd or indecent conduct charge is a misdemeanor, meaning you could spend up to 12 months in jail, if convicted. Not all cases are created equal though, and you might be facing additional charges related to the incident. If you have been charged with lewd conduct, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
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A variety of behaviors can be considered lewd or indecent in public settings. For example, engaging in any type of sex act in public can be considered lewd. In many cases, the exposure of genitals or other private body parts can be considered lewd conduct. We often think of flashing and exhibitionism as lewd or indecent behavior too. If you’re engaging in just about any type of sexual behavior, with or without a partner, in public, you could be facing lewd conduct charges. It’s important to note that kissing shouldn’t be enough to get you slapped with a lewd conduct charge.
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Lewd Conduct in Public Places
An important element of any lewd conduct case is that the objectionable behavior occurred in a public place. Since a variety of places are accessible by the general public, it’s important to understand what the law considers public. In most cases, public places include stores, roads, restaurants, parks and neighborhoods as public areas. It is possible for lewd conduct to occur in more seemingly private places though too. In fact, if the behavior taking place inside of a private residence is viewable by members of the general public outside, you might get slapped with a lewd conduct charge. If members of the general public can see you, it’s possible to face lewd conduct charges.
What About Intent?
It’s not uncommon to hear about cases involving lewd conduct or sexual acts in public, semi public or even private places that lead to charges. Not everybody who is slapped with a lewd conduct charge intended to have an audience. Unlike certain other types of crime, it might not matter in your case if you intended to have an audience or not. If you’re in a place that a reasonable person might encounter members of the general public, that could be enough for a lewd conduct conviction. Even if you were initially alone, and then a witness happens upon you, you could be facing lewd conduct charges.
It’s also important to note that with lewd conduct, there is almost always an element of sexual motivation. For example, if you’re caught urinating in a public place, that’s not necessarily lewd conduct. Sure, your genitals may have been exposed to an unsuspecting passerby, but you certainly weren’t trying to expose yourself or flash to anybody. If your case involved any type of non-sexual behavior, such as public urination or changing clothes where you thought you might have had privacy, you need to let your lawyer know immediately.
Penalties Associated With Lewd Conduct
In most cases, lewd conduct charges are misdemeanors. You might spend up to 12 months in jail. It’s also possible to face fines, probation and even community service after a lewd conduct conviction. If your case is more complicated, or if you have additional charges, you could be facing more time behind bars and heftier fines. If you’re convicted of a sex crime, you will have the additional issues associated with the stigma of sexual-related crimes, which could make getting a job, loan or even renting an apartment or home difficult. Your best bet after any type of sex crime arrest is to get with a lawyer about your defense immediately.
When to Call Jackson Criminal Defense Lawyer
After any type of arrest involving lewd or indecent conduct or behavior, it’s important to speak with a proven criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your defense. Even misdemeanor convictions have a lasting impact on one’s permanent record, long after your time has been served. Remember to exercise your right against self-incrimination and ask to speak with your lawyer as soon as possible. If you or somebody you love has been arrested and charged with lewd conduct in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the skilled and experienced team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate consultation.