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New York Penal Law 245.00: Public lewdness

By Spodek Law Group | May 2, 2017

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.

New York Penal Law 245.01: Exposure of a person

The New York Penal Code defines exposure of a person in a similar way to public lewdness. Put simply, exposure of a person is a violation in which a person shows their intimate parts in public. Although they may sound similar, there is a slight difference between public lewdness and exposure of a person.

The main difference between these two acts is in the nature of the exposure. Public lewdness requires that a person display their intimate parts in a lewd and sexualized manner, whereas exposure of a person simply requires that a person’s intimate parts be exposed to the public. While the definition of public is fairly loose by the New York penal code’s standards, it’s worth noting that public can also refer to locations that are “public” despite not actually being freely available to anyone.

Examples of Exposure of a Person

Given the simplicity of the charge, all that is necessary for someone to be charged with exposure of a person is for them to have their intimate parts exposed in public. For instance, if someone exposes themselves while at work, then they could be charged with exposure of a person. If, on the other hand, a person exposed themselves at work while making suggestive motions with their body, then they could potentially be charged with public lewdness instead.

It’s also worth noting that there is another related offense, which is described by the New York Penal Code as promoting the exposure of a person. Even if someone doesn’t expose themselves, they can still be charged if they encourage someone else to openly do it instead.

Defenses Against Exposure of a Person

There are a few exceptions to exposure of a person that can potentially be used as a defense. For instance, breastfeeding is not considered to be exposure of a person and is thus exempt from these charges. Similarly, a person who exposes themselves as a part of a play or other form of entertainment can use that as justification for the act. A NYC criminal lawyer can help their client to develop a solid defense based on these possible exemptions.

Sentencing for Exposure of a Person

If someone is found guilty of exposure of a person, then there are a few possible consequences. Since exposure of a person is a violation, it could involve the person being put in jail for up to 15 days, as well as being forced to pay a fine of up to $250. Although these consequences can be problematic, a conviction for exposure of a person will not result in the guilty party having a criminal record.

Still, even if the guilty party does not risk having a criminal record from the conviction, it does not mean it’s not worth fighting the charges. By working with a legal representative, defendants can avoid having to potentially spend any amount of time in jail, or to have to pay associated court fines. While exposure of a person is not a misdemeanor or felony in and of itself, the prosecutor could potentially include other charges that do count as misdemeanors or felonies. For this reason, above all others, it’s highly recommended to have a strong defense established ahead of any court appearances. The best way to prevent an exposure of a person charge from escalating into something more serious is to present a strong defense from the beginning.

New York Penal Law 245.03: Public lewdness in the first degree

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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