Queens Lewd Acts

A lewd act is any activity that is considered indecent when performed in public. It is sometimes referred to indecent exposure or public indecency. A common lewd act scenario involves a person exposing his or her intimate parts in a public place such as a park, bus, subway platform, library, beach, theater, or a public restroom. In People v. Guaman, 2014 NY Slip Op 01264 (2014), the defendant exposed his penis while standing on a subway platform, while in People v. Davis, 164 Misc.2d 89 (1994), the defendant masturbated in a public restroom in the presence of others. It is not required that the act occur in public. It is only required that the act occur in a place where the public observes it. Under the New York criminal law if you perform a lewd act, you will face a charge of public lewdness, a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.00. While you may think that a Class B misdemeanor is not serious, oftentimes those charged with public lewdness face additional, more serious criminal charges. Thus, if you are accused of performing a lewd act, you should immediately contact an experienced Queens Lewd Acts Lawyer who will explain the criminal process to you and support and defend you until your case is resolved.

Lewd Acts and Other Sex Crimes

A lewd act charge is often just one of several sex crime charges that you face. For instance, those who are charged with lewd conduct commonly also face charges of forcible touching and sexual abuse. In People v. Guaman the defendant not only exposed his penis while standing on a subway platform, he also rubbed his penis against another person's buttocks without his consent. Guaman was charged public lewdness as well as sexual abuse in the third degree and forcible touching. In cases where the victim of the lewd conduct is a child, the defendant will also face a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. N.Y. Pen. Law § 260.10

Public lewdness involves intentionally exposing your private parts, such as the penis, buttocks, or vagina in a lewd manner in a public place or in public view. It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.00. In In re Jeremy Jordon M. 953 N.Y.S.2d 550 (2012), the defendant was charged with public lewdness after being observed exposing his penis and masturbating near a public bike path.

Forcible touching is touching another person's intimate parts either to abuse or degrade that person or in order to receive sexual gratification. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.52. In People v. Valdivia, 980 N.Y.S.2d 278 (2013), defendant Mario Valdivia was charged with forcible touching after he was accused by multiple people of pressing his exposed, erect penis against their buttocks.

In New York there are 3 sexual abuse crimes. Sexual abuse in the third degree is a Class B misdemeanor and refers to nonconsensual sexual contact, meaning touching another person's intimate parts in order to receive sexual gratification. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. If the sexual contact is nonconsensual because the other person is less than 14 years old, or is incapable of consent for any other reason the charge will be the more serious charge of sexual abuse in the second degree. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60. The charge will be sexual abuse in the first degree if the sexual contact is by force, with a person who is physically helpless or with a person who is less than 11 years old. In addition, you will face a charge of sexual abuse in the first degree if you are at least 21 years old and the victim is less than 13 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65.

The Arrest and Arraignment Process

If you are arrested for public lewdness, you may be issued a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). A DAT is an order to appear in court. DATs are issued at the discretion of the arresting officer, and are typically only given if the charge is a violation or a misdemeanor, and in some cases Class E felonies. It is important to understand that if you are issued a DAT you are still being charged with a crime. The advantage of receiving a DAT is you will avoid being detained in Central Booking while you await your arraignment. If you are charged with a felony sex crime you will not be given a DAT. You will be taken to Central Booking where you will have to wait until your arraignment.

You arraignment is the first of many court hearings that you must attend until your case is resolved. At your arraignment you will learn exactly the charges against you. In preparation for your arraignment the prosecutor will have had the opportunity to review the facts of your case, the evidence and your background. Based on that information the prosecutor may decide that additional charges are warranted. So, you may be surprised to learn that you are being charged with more crimes that you anticipated.

Before your trial you may be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor. For example, if you are charged with public lewdness the prosecutor may agree to lower the charge to disorderly conduct or harassment. Each of these charges are violations, not misdemeanors or felonies. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.26. Or if you are charged with a sex crime such as forcible touching or sexual abuse, the prosecutor may agree to reduce the charge to a single count of public lewdness. It is up to you to decide if you prefer to go to trial on the original charges or if you prefer to accept a plea deal.

Sentencing

The sentence you will face for lewd acts or an accompanying sex crime varies depending on the charge. If you are convicted of public lewdness, a Class B misdemeanor, the maximum possible sentence is 3 months in jail, probation for 3 years and a fine of up to $500.

If you are convicted of forcible touching, a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $1,000. If you have been convicted of forcible touching in the past, you may be charged with the crime of persistent sexual abuse, a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.53. The possible sentence for a persistent sexual abuse conviction is up to 4 years in prison.

If you are convicted of sexual abuse in the third degree, a Class B misdemeanor, the maximum possible sentence is 3 months in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $500. For a conviction of sexual abuse in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, you face a sentence of up to 1 year in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $1,000. The maximum possible sentence for sexual abuse in the first degree, a Class D felony, is up to 7 years in prison, probation for 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000.

If all or part of your sentence includes probation, the probation term will be either 3, 6 or 10 years depending on whether the crime is sex crime, a misdemeanor or felony. If you are sentenced to probation for a public lewdness conviction, the probation term would be 3 years. For a misdemeanor sex crime conviction the probation term would be 6 years, while a felony sex crime conviction carries a probation sentence of 10 years. If you are sentenced to probation you will have to follow several strict rules, or risk having your probation revoked. If you break a rule, you could be sentenced to prison. The rules attached to your probation may require you to stick to a curfew, submit to warrantless searches, to refrain from associating with people who have criminal backgrounds, to have a job, to support your family, and to generally stay out of trouble. You have to report to your probation officer on a regular basis.

Another consequence of being convicted of public lewdness or any sex crime is that you will have a criminal record. However, if you are convicted of forcible touching, sexual abuse or almost any other sex crime whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, not only will you have a criminal record, you will also be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act. Law enforcement will maintain a record of your name, home address, school name and address, the name and address over your employer, your email address, online your screen names, as well as other identifying information. You will have to regularly provide an updated photo and regularly verify your address as well as other personal information. If it is determined that you present a high risk of re-offending, your information will be made public so that anyone will be able to go online and learn that you are a registered sex offender as well as the crime of which you were convicted. You will be required to register for at least 20 years, and maybe for the rest of your life.

If you have been accused of a committing a lewd act such as exposing yourself in public, you must take it seriously. Depending on the circumstances of the act, you may end up being charged with additional more serious crimes such as forcible touching, sexual abuse, or endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted you may be sentenced to several years in prison. You will also have criminal record and be required to register as a sex offender. If you are arrested for public lewdness, you should immediately consult an experienced Queens Lewd Acts Lawyer. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who are accused of public lewdness as well as sex crimes such as forcible touching and sexual abuse. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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