What Constitutes a Lewd Act? (PC 647(a))
Being accused of committing a “lewd act” is a very serious crime. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face jail or prison time, expensive fines and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
The most common question our lawyers are asked with regards to the crime of lewd acts is “what exactly is a lewd act?” The answer is complicated.
Definition of a Lewd Act (PC 647(a))
Under California Penal Code Section 647(a), a lewd act is defined as any unlawful conduct committed for the purpose of arousing the sexual gratification of yourself or the person the lewd act is directed toward, or another form of sexual deviancy. The act is considered “lewd” when moral principles are abandoned for the sake of sexual gratification.
Lewd Acts in Public
In order to be convicted of committing lewd act in a public place under PC 647(a), the prosecution must prove:
- You willfully engaged in touching your own or another person’s genitals, buttocks or breast area
- You did so with the intent of sexually arousing or gratifying yourself or another person, or to offend another person
- The act was committed in a public place or a place open to public view
- A person who might have been offended was present at the time you committed the act, and
- You knew or reasonably should have known that another person could have been offended by the act
That is the definition of a lewd act under the law. There is no list of concrete acts that constitute a lewd act. Anything from urinating in public to having sexual intercourse in front of an open window could be considered a lewd act.
Lewd Acts with a Minor (PC 288)
In addition to the crime of lewd acts in public, you could be accused of committing lewd acts upon a minor under California Penal Code Section 288. You could be convicted of this crime if:
- You willfully touched any part of a child’s body or you willfully caused a child to touch his or her own body, your body, or another person’s body
- You did so with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify yourself or the alleged victim
Accidentally touching a child on his or her body without the intent of sexual gratification does not constitute a lewd act with a minor. Most instances of lewd acts with a minor involve touching a child’s sexual organs, an explicit act of child molestation, or touching any part of the child with the purposes of sexual arousal.
This type of lewd act carries significantly harsher punishment than lewd acts in public.
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a lewd act, you need to contact a skilled sex crimes defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing sex crime charges. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.