New York Lewd Acts
A lewd act is a term used to describe any activity considered to be indecent when performed in public. It is a sex crime. A lewd act typically involves exposure of private or intimate parts to the public accompanied by lewd behavior such as masturbation. Public could mean a park, bus, subway platform, library, beach, theater, or a public restroom. In People v. Guaman, 2014 NY Slip Op 01264 (2014), the defendant was accused of lewd conduct when he exposed his penis while standing on a subway platform when other people were also on the platform, while in People v. Davis, 164 Misc.2d 89 (1994), defendant Raymond Davis was accused of masturbating in a public restroom in the presence of others. However, you can also be accused of lewd conduct if the act is at your house or in another private residence, but is observed from a public place or from other private residences. Under the New York Penal Code if you perform a lewd act, you could be charged with public lewdness, a class B misdemeanor. A charge of public lewdness is often accompanied by other more serious criminal charges. Thus, if you are in need of a criminal lawyer because you have been accused of performing a lewd act you should immediately contact an experienced New York sex crimes lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who will explain the criminal process to you and aggressively defend you until your case is resolved. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have decades of experience representing clients who have been charged with sex crimes and other serious crimes such as assault, domestic violence and kidnapping. Find out what we can do for you by contacting us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.Lewd acts and sex crimes
A lewd conduct charge is often attached to sex crime charges, such as forcible touching and sexual abuse. In People v. Guaman, the defendant, Luis Guaman, not only exposed his penis while standing on a subway platform he also was accused of rubbing his penis against the buttocks of another man without that man's consent. In addition to being charged with public lewdness Guaman was also charged with sexual abuse in the third degree and forcible touching. In many cases lewd conduct is directed toward children. In those cases a lewd conduct charge may accompany a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. N.Y. Pen. Law § 260.10
Public Lewdness. You will be charged with public lewdness if you intentionally expose 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
Forcible Touching . You will be charged with forcible touching if you touch 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.
Sexual Abuse . Sexual abuse in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor and refers to nonconsensual sexual contact. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. Sexual contact is defined as touching another person's intimate parts in order to receive sexual gratification. 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 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 be charged with 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 may be called a ticket, but is actually an order to appear in criminal court. It will state that you have been charged with public lewdness. It will also list the day, time and place that you must appear in court for your arraignment hearing. 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. If you are issued a DAT, you can avoid being detained in Central Booking while you await your arraignment. If you are charged with a felony sex crime it is likely that you will not be given a DAT. You will end up in Central Booking until your arraignment.
At your arraignment, the prosecutor will let you know the crimes with which you are charged. Between the time of your arrest and your arraignment, the prosecutor will have reviewed the evidence in your case as well as your criminal history and may determine that you should be charged with additional crimes, or different crimes. The prosecutor will also make a recommendation to the judge on bail. The judge may set a dollar amount for bail, release you on your own recognizance, or require that you be held without bail. You will also be given your next court date. You are required to appear at every court date. If you fail to appear the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Before your trial you may be able to reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor. 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 charges may be reduced 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.
Public lewdness. This is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail, probation for 3 years and a fine of up to $500.
Forcible touching. This is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if you have been convicted of forcible touching in the past, you may be charged with 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.
Sexual abuse in the third degree. This is a class B misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $500.
Sexual abuse in the second degree. This is a class A misdemeanor. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail, probation for 6 years and a fine of up to $1,000.
Sexual abuse in the first degree. This is a class D felony. If convicted the possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison, probation for 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to a prison sentence, you may also be sentenced to probation. 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 and being sent to prison. The rules attached to your probation may require you to abide by a curfew, submit to warrantless searches, to refrain from associating with disreputable people, to submit to drug testing, 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. If you violate your probation you will have to go before a judge who may decide to revoke your probation and resentence you to prison.
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, you will 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. 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. You will be required to register for at least 20 years, and maybe for the rest of your life.Schedule a consultation
If you have been accused of a committing a lewd act you may face additional, more serious charges such as forcible touching, sexual abuse, or endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted you may be sentenced to several years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender. If you are arrested for public lewdness, you should immediately consult an experienced New York lewd acts lawyer. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates 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 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.