A lewd or lascivious act in a public place is a misdemeanor in the state of California. This crime can include any consensual sex act that is conducted in public or exposed to public view. Even sexual conduct in a car can be considered lewd conduct in public if the car was open for public view. Most 647(a) lewd acts in public occur in public parks, beaches or areas open to the public such as public bathrooms. Even two consenting adults could be charged with 647(a) if the conduct was sexual and exposed to public view. Mere kissing would likely not rise to the level of a lewd act. Actual sexual acts would be considered lewd and illegal if in public or exposed to public view.
Merely committing a sexual in a car after a date night with your boyfriend or girlfriend is illegal if the sex act was in public or open to public view. While most police officers may simply tell you to move along and leave the area with a mere warning, others may arrest you and charge you with 647(a), even if the conduct was with your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse.
A conviction of 647(a) does not automatically require one to register as a sex offender. Penal Code Section 647(a) is not a register able offense pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290 unless the Judge makes a finding that the conduct was motivated by sexual compulsion or abuse (290.006).
If you, or a loved one is being charged with 647(a), it is important to get a experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to defend you. You never want to have a sex related offense on your criminal record.