Pursuant to the New York Penal Code, a lewd act is the term utilized to describe any type of activity that is deemed indecent if it is performed in public. Typically, a lewd act would include the exposure of a person’s private body parts, including a penis or vagina, in a public setting. This exposure usually is also accompanied by associated behavior that is designed to provide the perpetrator with some level of sexual arousal. Public lewdness in the first degree is the most serious type of lewd act crime on the books in the Empire State.
Elements of Public Lewdness in the First Degree
A person can be charged with public lewdness in the first degree if he or she exposes certain body parts to an individual or individuals under the age of 16 in a public setting. These body parts include a penis, vagina, or buttocks.
The exposure must be accompanied by some type of lewd action as well, such as masturbation. Merely exposing a so-called private part, without the lewd action, is not enough to support a charge of public lewdness in the first degree.
A person can face a charge of public lewdness in the first degree under one other situation as well. A person can face a charge of public lewdness in the first degree if he or she was prosecuted for any type of public lewdness crime in the past year.
Examples of Public Lewdness in the First Degree
A prime example of public lewdness in the first degree is a man who exposes his penis at a park and masturbates in front of other individuals that include people under the age of 16. Another example of public lewdness in the first degree is a woman who exposes her breasts in a public setting, that includes the presence of children, and fondles the breasts while they are exposed.
Sentence for Public Lewdness in the First Degree
Public lewdness in the first degree has been classified in the New York Penal Code as a class A misdemeanor, the most serious type of misdemeanor on the books in the state. As a result, a person convicted of public lewdness in the first degree faces the possibility of a year in jail. In addition, a person faces the prospect of what can be a sizeable fine if convicted of this crime.
A judge can elect to sentence a person to a term of probation as opposed to incarceration in a case involving public lewdness in the first degree. The maximum probationary period for this crime is three years.
Defenses to Public Lewdness in the First Degree
NYC criminal attorneys can mount effective defenses to crimes like public lewdness in the first degree. One possible defense to a charge of public lewdness in the first degree is the argument that the defendant was unaware anyone under the age of 16 was around when the person engaged in the act that resulted in the criminal charge. If a person can demonstrate an absence of minors under the age of 16 at the scene, a charge of public lewdness in the first degree may not be sustained. However, a person may face a charge for another crime.
A New York criminal defense lawyer will schedule an initial consultation to discuss a charge of public lewdness in the first degree. A lawyer will lay out possible defense strategies and will provide an overall evaluation of a case. As a general practice in the state of New York, a criminal defense lawyer does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client.
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