IWV Legal proudly serves clients throughout Kern County on Criminal Defense cases.
Accusations of lewd conduct are serious, but sometimes they may be false or misleading allegations. If you have been accused of lewd conduct in Kern County, reach out to IWV Legal immediately for legal guidance. We can take a detailed look at your case and defend you against jail time, fines, and a range of consequences that may arise due to a conviction.
Schedule an initial consultation with IWV Legal to get started.
According to California criminal law, a person commits lewd conduct when, in a public place or in public view, they engage in or solicit anyone to engage in the touching of the genitals, buttocks, or breasts for the purpose of sexual gratification or offense.
In order to bring forward charges of lewd conduct, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:
- the defendant willfully engaged in the touching of their own or another person’s genitals, buttocks, or breast;
- they did so with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify themselves or another person, or to annoy or offend another person;
- they performed these acts in a public place or in public view;
- someone else who might have been offended was present; and
- the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that another person who might have been offended by their conduct was present.
Keep in mind that the word “public” can be interpreted broadly, and it includes places like a car parked on a public street, a common area in an apartment complex, and stores and shops. Private places like hotel rooms may be considered public if the curtains are open and the room is clearly visible to the public.
Penalties Upon Conviction
Lewd conduct is charged as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. Judges may decide to grant misdemeanor (“summary”) probation instead, which calls for fines, counseling, an HIV test, and a requirement that the defendant stay away from specified locations. A conviction for lewd conduct in public typically does not require the defendant to register as a sex offender.
There are several ways to argue against a lewd conduct charge, depending on the circumstances.
Some common examples of defense claims in these cases are:
- The defendant was not in a public place or somewhere open to public view
- The defendant touched themselves but not for the purposes of sexual gratification (e.g., washing up or checking on an infected part of the body)
- The defendant had reason to believe no one else was present and would have been offended
- The defendant did not engage in the alleged actions
- Law enforcement entrapped the defendant or otherwise engaged in misconduct to create a criminal charge
Sex crimes are one of the most complex types of criminal cases to handle. Lewd conduct is a misdemeanor that, fortunately, does not typically require a period of sex offender registration that may affect a defendant’s future. Nonetheless, if you have been accused of lewd conduct in public, you should consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your potential penalties and how you might petition for misdemeanor probation instead of jail time.
Our attorneys at IWV Legal can assess your situation and determine your strongest method of defense, whether that be arguing your innocence or missing elements required in a conviction.
Schedule an initial consultation with our team at IWV Legal to get started.