A complaint of "lewd conduct" may involve a wide range be any type of conduct that's regarded sexual and offends or annoys others.
The complaints will arise from two areas of the CPC:
indecent exposure is defined as intentionally exposing “private parts” in any public place or anywhere that others may be “offended or annoyed.” The defendant may have revealed their entire naked body or just the bare genitals. For some years now, a bare female breast is not considered indecent otherwise breastfeeding mothers could face charges. Also, flashing someone your underwear, no matter how revealing or skimpy, is not indecent exposure according to the current California Court interpretation of California Penal Code 314.
Urinating in public is also not considered decent exposure. If someone urinates behind a dumpster, for example, away from direct line of sight from public or between two buildings at night, then the court will not charge that person with indecent exposure.
The key is that for any act exposure to be considered "indecent" it must have clearly been done with the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or to offend other people.
The statute for Lewd Conduct is part of a catchall section of the California Penal Code system that covers a spectrum of disorderly conduct (drunk in public, prostitution and solicitation, trespassing, loitering). If there is a charge for Lewd Conduct, the specific citation is CPC 647(a). The charge will relate to a specific act (or acts) that are considered sexually obscene acts conducted in the open view of the public. A prison time often comes with a conviction, which may mean additional personal damage to reputation, business, and even future employment. If you or someone you know have been charged, it is critical to recognize what's in store.
The wording of California Penal Code Section 647(a) is fairly straight forward, but the unpredictability is how "licentious" is defined. Simply put, charges can be raised for anyone who initiates or participates in vulgar or lewd behavior in public. A "licentious" demonstration is usually characterized as any behavior that seems to offer some kind of sexual satisfaction. However, the issue can be the moral standard are deserted for some kind of degenerate, sexual satisfaction is viewed as "licentious." Obviously, PC 647(a) applies with any obscene act in connection with minors. But 647(a) is not restricted to kids. Criminal charges are made for people who masturbate in a strip club or adult movie theater. Any touching of private parts (crotch area or rear end) can result in a criminal charge.
If the charge is a misdemeanor, California Penal Code Section 977(a) allows us - as your criminal defense attorney - to appear for you in court so that you don’t have to. This will help you avoid some personal embarrassment that can be related to this type of charge. If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to find out if we can appear in court for you.
If the charges are serious enough, judges can decide that a conviction requires lifetime sex offender registration under Penal Code Section 290. If required to register under this section, you will likely end up on the Internet indicating you as a registered offender.
Although public opinion and social attitudes have changed, a charge of lewd conduct in Southern California will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In most communities in Orange County, arrest does not always mean a conviction. Only an active and meaningful investigation by the defense will uncover mitigating circumstances that could significantly change the outcome.
Stull & Stull is led by Adam Stull, a former deputy district attorney. He has experience consulting with police officers and opposing counsel. He has spent considerable amount of time prosecuting misdemeanor and felony offenses involving a full range of charges. He can plan a defense and prepare your case in the best way possible, endeavoring to avoid sex offender registration, as well as other serious penalties, that can be imposed by the court.
If you are serious about obtaining a case dismissal or receiving a substantial reduction for your charges, then your next move is obtaining experienced and aggressive legal counsel that will provide you with the best possible outcome.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull has more than 45 years of combined criminal trial experience in Orange County as well as Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Ventura counties. The Law Office of Stull & Stull is based in Laguna Hills, California.