Sec 647(a) of the California Penal Code when an individual solicits anyone to engage in or engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.
The following are the elements of the crime of lewd conduct in public:
• The accused had engaged in the touching of their own or another person’s genitalia, buttocks or breasts;
• The accused did the acts with the intent of sexually arousing or gratifying themselves or another or to annoy or offend another person;
• While the accused was engaged in the illegal conduct, the venue was a public place or a place open to the public or to public view;
• At the time the accused was engaged in the conduct, other person/s that were offended were present;
• The accused knew or should have recently known that another individual who might be offended by the conduct was present in the area;
It is not illegal per se to engage in sexual activity in public. The said act becomes illegal when other people are present who would be offended by the sexual conduct in public. According to the California Supreme Court,
that “even if conduct occurs in a location that is technically a public place, a place open to the public, or one exposed to public view, the state has little interest in prohibiting that conduct if there are no persons present who may be offended” and “the statute thus serves the primary purpose of protecting onlookers who might be offended by the proscribed conduct.”
This crime is considered as a misdemeanor offense. The imposable penalties include service of probation of up to five (5) years, payment of fines, attendance in counseling, being tested for AIDS, an order to stay away from the location and even jail time of at most one (1) year in county jail. This offense though does not require registry as a sex offender. A conviction from this crime though would be contained in the offender’s criminal record.
The commission of the crime of lewd public conduct is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.