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New York Penal Law § 245.00: Public lewdness

A lewd act is a term used to describe any activity considered to be indecent when performed in public. A lewd act typically involves exposure of private or intimate parts to the public accompanied by behavior which is meant to provide sexual arousal. An example of lewd behavior is masturbating in public. Public could mean a park, bus, subway platform, library, beach, theater, or a public restroom. 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 New York Penal Law § 245.00 you could be charged with public lewdness if you intentionally expose your private parts, such as your penis, buttocks, or vagina in a lewd manner in a public place such as a city street or on a public bus, or you do some sort of lewd act such as masturbation.


Luis Guaman was charged with public lewdness for rubbing his exposed penis against another man’s buttocks without that person’s consent. He was also charged with sexual abuse in the third degree and forcible touching. People v. Guaman, 2014 NY Slip Op 1264 (N.Y., 2014).

Jagtar Singh approached several people in a public place and intentionally exposed his private or intimate parts. Singh was charged with public lewdness. People v. Singh, 2015 NY Slip Op 50504 (N.Y. App. Term, 2015)

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.

Related Offenses
  1. Exposure of a person: New York Penal Law § 245.01
  2. Promoting the exposure of a person: New York Penal Law § 245.02
  3. Public lewdness in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 245.03
  4. Offensive exhibition: New York Penal Law § 245.05

In order for you to be convicted of public lewdness, you must have intentionally exposed yourself in public. If your pants ripped, for example, resulting in you exposing yourself by accident, you would not have committed the crime of public lewdness.


Public lewdness is a class B misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 90 days, a probation term of 1 year, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 245.00: Public lewdness

A person is guilty of public lewdness when he intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act (a) in a public place, or (b) in private premises under circumstances in which he may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he be so observed.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though public lewdness is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still a crime. If you are convicted you could end up in jail. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been accused of public lewdness, indecent exposure, fondling, sex crimes and other criminal offenses. 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 larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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