There are many criminal charges that can follow you long after you’ve completed your community service, served your time in jail, and paid your fines. Even if you have changed and have stopped living a life of crime, the fact that you were once convicted of criminal activity could keep you from getting a job, finding decent housing, and even making future personal connections.
However, many sex crimes can keep you even further isolated from society, forcing you to register as a sex offender, live far from school buildings or away from certain communities, and subjecting you to harsh scrutiny from the rest of the public. While some sex crimes are heinous and require protection for public safety, other crimes may not seem so serious at the time, or may be thought of as little more than a prank, but can nevertheless lead to the same serious penalties.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4, lewdness can be a criminal or quasi-criminal offense, and is considered either a disorderly persons offense or a fourth-degree crime:
- Lewdness is a disorderly persons offense when a person commits an overtly lewd act, and knows that the act will be witnessed by, or is likely to be witnessed by, someone who does not want to observe it, and who would be alarmed by it.
- Lewdness is a fourth degree crime if a person exposes his private parts with the intention of arousing his own sexual desire, or that of another person. The actor must also know or have a reasonable expectation that this act will be observed by someone who is under the age of 13, and the actor is at least 17.
- Lewdness is also a crime in the fourth degree if a person exposes his private parts in order to arouse his own sexual desire, or that of another person, and has a reasonable expectation that he will be observed by someone who is unable to understand what those actions mean, due to mental disease or disorder.
What Happens If You’re Charged with Lewdness?
You can be accused of lewdness if you’ve exposed yourself in public, even if it was just to urinate, or because you and your significant other got a little aroused and decided to fool around in public. Even if you are not thinking about the sexual nature of your actions, someone who witnesses you may be thinking differently, and this could lead to criminal charges.
Even if you have been charged with lewdness as a disorderly persons offense, you’re going to be facing some serious penalties. If convicted, you could be required to pay fines up to $1,000, and could be put behind bars for up to 6 months. You may also lose your driving privileges, and could wait for up to 5 years to have your record cleared. If you are charged with fourth-degree Lewdness, you face up to 18 months in State Prison.
A lewdness conviction can drastically change the course of your life and it can be very difficult to get back on track. You should fight your charges with the help of a leading attorney. Call Scott Gorman, a Morristown criminal defense attorney at The Gorman Law Firm today for help with your case.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense