When it comes to the offense of lewdness, also known as indecent exposure, one may think of the classic case of a person randomly exposing themselves in public by opening up the proverbial raincoat. However, that is not the typical scenario. More frequently, lewdness charges result from an ill-advised drunken episode of exhibitionism, or from people engaging in private conduct in a place that is more public than they realized. No matter how much the conduct was a product of impaired or mistaken judgment, a charge of lewdness is embarrassing and carries a stigma.
In order to mitigate the potential legal, emotional, and personal harm that could result from a lewdness charge, be sure to consult an attorney with experience in that area. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the know-how to handle a lewdness charge against you in the Hamilton, Ewing, Princeton, Lawrence and Robbinsville areas, and they will fight to minimize the impact it may have on your life. Call for a free consultation at (609) 683-8102 today.Lewdness Offense in Mercer County New Jersey
The offense of lewdness is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4. A lewd act, defined as exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person, can result in either a disorderly persons offense or third degree crime under this law. The headings below summarize the elements for proving this charge and the penalties that apply at the time of sentencing.
Elements of Lewdness under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4. A person commits the offense of lewdness by doing a flagrantly lewd and offensive act that he or she knows, or reasonably expects, would be seen by casual observers who would be offended by the conduct. Accordingly, there are three elements a prosecutor must establish to prove the crime of lewdness. First, the person must commit a flagrantly lewd and offensive act, such as exposing one’s genitals for the purpose of arousing sexual desire. Second, the person must know, or reasonably expect, that other non-consenting individuals would likely observe the act. Third, the non-consenting individuals would be affronted or alarmed by the act.
It is important to note that New Jersey’s law on lewdness focuses on whether a person could reasonably expect to be observed by others. A person’s subjective perception that they were in a place where no one could see them is far less relevant than what an objective person would think is reasonable under the circumstances.
Penalties for Lewdness. Lewdness is typically a disorderly persons offense, which could result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, the penalties change depending upon the people who may see the lewd act. Specifically, if the lewd act was observed, or was reasonably likely to be observed, by (a) a child under the age of 13 or (b) by a person suffering from a mental disability that prevents him or her from understanding the sexual nature of the conduct, then the offense becomes a fourth-degree crime. For a fourth degree crime, a person could be sentenced up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Finally, there could be additional consequences if a motor vehicle was involved in the offense, or if the person charged held public office.Trenton NJ Lewdness Defense Lawyer
Being caught and charged with lewdness can be a terrible and humiliating experience, particularly if the person mistakenly believed that no one could observe him or her. Given the consequences of what could result from the offense, it is vitally important that you retain a lawyer who is an expert in dealing with lewdness and other sex-related offenses. Attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall who have handled countless charges in East Windsor, Hightstown, Trenton, West Windsor, Pennington and other Mercer County municipalities for decades and are ready to assist you. Please call (609) 683-8102 to get the legal assistance from an experienced attorney you need.