Friday nights are the best nights. The week is done, and there is no school or work to worry about for a couple of days. So, you go out on a date with your girlfriend or boyfriend, and you decide to park your car in a secluded spot. One thing leads to another, and you and your significant engage in sexual intercourse. Next thing you know, there is a beam of light shining through the window and a police officer tapping on the roof of the car. What happens next?
Understanding Penal Code 647(a): Lewd or Dissolute Conduct
California law under Penal Code Section 647(a) punishes any person who “solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.”
Lewd and dissolute mean fundamentally the same thing under the law. Both terms refer to the touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breast for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, annoyance or offense.
As for what makes the location “public,” the California Supreme Court has stated that the law’s primary purpose is “protecting onlookers who might be offended by the proscribed conduct.” This means that for the activity of having sex in a car to rise to the level of a crime, it must take place in a location where there is a likelihood of being seen by another person, including a parked car in a public area such as a street or parking lot.
Under PC 647(a), lewd conduct is a misdemeanor offense. If you are convicted of this crime, you could face up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
What Are Some Legal Defenses to a Lewd Conduct Charge?
As with most crimes, the best defense available will be dependent upon the facts of the case. Here are some of the most common defenses:
- You did not engage in the behavior of which you are accused.
- You touched yourself or someone else, but it was not for sexual gratification, or to annoy or offend someone else.
- You reasonably believed that no one was present, or that anyone who was present would not be offended.
- You were not in a public place or a place open to public view.
- The police used entrapment or engaged in other misconduct.
As with all crimes, the prosecution has the burden to prove all of the elements of the crime in order to secure a conviction. If you lacked the intent to achieve sexual gratification or if you reasonably believed no one would see the activity, you will have a good chance to achieve a favorable result in your case.
However, the best advice might be the oldest advice: “Get a room.”
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been arrested for lewd conduct or indecent exposure, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending people accused of these crimes, and we are committed to helping guide you through the process. Our attorneys are available to answer any of your questions.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.