The concept of “lewdness” can be difficult for many to grasp. Its technical definition is “a behavior that is crudely sexual in nature,” which can include actions like offensive gestures, certain types of dancing, and commentary made in public. But, as anybody who leaves his or her home is aware, we live in a world of lewdness. Crude and offensive imagery and actions can be seen in public spaces throughout New Jersey and the rest of the United States. For many, the thought of facing a criminal charge for simply behaving or speaking in a sexual manner is dangerously close to an infringement of his or her right to free speech.
But in New Jersey, it is possible to be charged with lewdness or indecent exposure. This can happen any time an individual is caught exposing him- or herself in an area where he or she can reasonably expect others to observe his or her behavior. If you have been charged with this type of offense, work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to give your case the best chance possible of resulting in a lowered or dismissed charge.
Examples of Lewdness and Indecent Exposure
Publicly touching one’s genitals in a sexual manner;
Public urination; and
Displaying one’s buttocks or genitals to unsuspecting victims in an attempt to elicit a reaction of shock, disgust, or arousal.
Penalties for Lewdness Charges in New Jersey
A lewdness or indecent exposure charge is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. The penalties for this type of conviction include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
If a child under the age of 13 or an adult with significant mental disabilities witnesses an act of lewdness, the offender may be charged with a fourth degree crime and face penalties up to 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Lewdness charges involving a motor vehicle could result in the offender having his or her driver’s license suspended for up to two years and if the offender holds public office, he or she may lose this position.
Work with an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with lewdness or indecent exposure in Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, or Burlington county, contact our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. today to schedule your legal consultation with our firm.