Public lewdness is the intentional act of performing indecent action or exposing private body parts in public, or in plain view of the public. According to New York State Law, public lewdness is any act that’s considered lewd while being performed or shown intentionally to the public even if it occurs in a private residence. One example of public lewdness is when a person intentionally exposes their private body parts, such as their penis, vagina, or buttocks in public. It’s also defined as a person who performs a lewd and private act in plain view of the public with the intent of being watched.
New York Penal Code 245.00 defines public lewdness as intentionally exposing private body parts or performing private acts in public, and it’s considered a misdemeanor. It’s not considered a felony unless there is felony touching involved. It is a crime that might result in jail time and substantial fines if one is found guilty of public lewdness.
For a NYC criminal lawyer to prove guilt in a public lewdness case, he or she must prove one of the following:
– The crime was committed in a public place
– The crime was committed in a private place in which the public has the ability to watch, and the intent is that the public does see the act being performed
Examples of Public Lewdness
The law regarding public lewdness is strict, but it’s not always easily understood. There are misconceptions that allow for the general public to wonder if an act is considered lewd. If a person removes a private body part in public with the intent of showing it to those surrounding him or her, it’s considered public lewdness. On the other hand, if a person’s pants rip and he or she is not wearing any undergarments, it’s not public lewdness. It’s an accident. The act must be intentional.
Performing a private sexual act with oneself or another in a public location in plain view of others is also considered public lewdness. This might be a man personally pleasuring himself in the middle of a movie theater or a park, or a woman doing the same in her car while sitting in traffic. The act of exposing a private body part and engaging in this behavior in public is lewd, and it’s going to result in an arrest and legal trouble.
Defense of Public Lewdness
The only defense against public lewdness in New York is accidental exposure. As mentioned above, a person whose private parts are exposed as a result of their clothing being torn, ripped, or even stolen in a crime did not intend to expose their private parts to the general public. The other defense is that a private residence was in plain view of the public without the person in the private residence knowing. A good example of this is a person who engages in a sex act in a hotel room without the intent of being watched by others who is seen through the window of another building.
Public places are everywhere, and anything from a public bus to a school to parking lot can be considered public. Even a private office owned by the person committing the act of exposure or other sexual means is considered lewd if others are present in the office building. Knowing the law makes it easier for the general public to understand what their actions might do to their future, and discussing these acts with an attorney makes it easier to understand if it should happen to someone in New York.
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