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Lewd Conduct

Lewd Conduct in Public - California Penal Code 647(a) PC


In defending lewd conduct charges over the past 25 years, I have noticed that in many cases the charges are too harsh for what actually happened.  Sometimes being able to shed some light on the surrounding circumstances of the case and give the defendant's story to the prosecutor and judge can do wonders to change the complexion of the case and save the defendant from some of the harsh consequences that can flow from a lewd conduct charge.

Another issue that is important is to try and avoid a conviction that is lewd conduct related because of the stigma that attaches to this type of crime and because in some circumstances the prosecutors will try and force the charged person to register as a sex offender.

There are a whole host of factors that go into the prosecutor and judge's decision making process when it comes to deciding whether a person will have to register as a sex offender and / or go to jail or prison for this type of sex crime.

In order to defend against some of these harsh consequences a lewd conduct charge can bring, in addition to shedding light on the true circumstances of the case, it can also be important to make sure that the mitigating and positive side of your client's life is something that the judge and prosecutor take into account before they pass judgment on the client.

There are many effective ways that a defendant can show the prosecutor that they should be given the benefit of the doubt and not suffer irreversible consequences related to a lewd conduct charge.  Sometimes character letters from the client's friends and family can go along way towards humanizing the defendant and showing the judge and prosecutor that they are a good citizen who has done a lot for the community and that the subject conduct is an aberration that will not occur again.


In order to be convicted of a Penal Code 647(a) lewd conduct offense the prosecutors must prove:

You touched yourself or someone else's private area with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify yourself or the other person. The touching must be done out in public in such a way that people can see and you have to be aware that another person can see your actions.

As you can see for the information above, that paragraph is loaded will things that a person must do and know in order to be guilty of this crime. Over the course of the past 25 years, I have fought each of the nuances in cases that I have handled related to lewd conduct prosecutions.

Not every area will apply in every case and in some cases the conduct will be so blatant and the evidence so strong that there is no room to fight the case and we have to sit down with the prosecutor and judge and work out a fair resolution with minimal damage to the person's record.

There are a number of factors that the prosecutors and judges evaluate in Los Angeles to determine whether there is a defense for a lewd conduct case or not. Some of the factors are based in the law and some of them are based in pure common sense.

If the argument and defense makes sense to the average reasonable person then the defendant will have a chance to litigate the matter and be successful. Whenever I evaluate these type of cases, I look at it from a juries perspective and consider how they would view the evidence and the defendant's behavior in the context of all of the evidence the prosecutor will bring to the table and what the defense can counter with.

This type of experience (having done over 200 jury trials) is invaluable and very few attorneys have this type of experience advertising on the Internet.


The biggest thing on most people' mind in a lewd conduct prosecution is whether or not they will be forced to register as a sex offender. The prosecutors and judges look at whether the defendant has a prior criminal record and if any of that record involved anything related to a sex offense or not.

Making a decision based on someone's criminal record is a subjective evaluation and there are no perfect answers when it comes to this. Of course the prosecutor and judge will also look at the current conduct to determine whether the subject defendant is so dangerous as to be forced to register as a sex offender for the protection of the community at large.

Lewd conduct, can have some harsh penalties, depending on what was done and the person's prior criminal record. Our sex crime defense attorneys make it our objective to minimize these penalties as best as we can or have the charges completely dismissed due to insufficient evidence or illegally obtained evidence.

Indecent exposure, child molestation, child pornography, and prostitution is considered lewd conduct. To be convicted with lewd conduct the burden is on the prosecution must prove all the elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

The elements of lewd conduct are: the person intentionally took part in the touching of his/her own or someone else's private areas; the person had the purpose to sexual gratify self or another; the person was in a public place; someone else was present at the time that may have been offended; the person knew or should have known that a person who may have been offended was actually present.

As your sex crime defense attorney, our duty to you as our client is to gather and contest all the evidence the prosecution is trying to bring in to prove each of these elements.

We are aggressive in what we do and our priority is to get you, the client, the best results possible.

Penalties you may face if you are convicted of lewd conduct/lewd conduct with a minor are state imprisonment, fines of up to $10,000, and mandatory sex offender registration as required by California Penal Code Section 290.

Let us help avoid these penalties by putting our years of experience to work for you and your interests. Contact our L.A. sex crime defense attorneys and set up a free face to face consultation.

July 2015 – Van Nuys Court – Successful Case Result

Van Nuys Superior Court – Client charged with Lewd Conduct – a violation of Penal Code Section 647 (b). At the initial court appearance the prosecutors wanted my client to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, be the the Megan's Law website and wanted him to do a term in jail. After I was able to show them all of the mitigating factors related to the facts and circumstances of the case and give them an idea of the type of person my client is, they offered him a resolution that avoided sex registration, no jail time and he was able to plead to a charge that does not have a sexual aspect to it.

BURBANK SUPERIOR COURT – CLIENT AVOID SEX REGISTRATION FOR LIFE – client charged with lewd conduct and the prosecutor demanding sex registration and jail time when we substituted in on the case. After a careful investigation and being able to show a number of discrepancies in the video evidence that the prosecutor had on the case, I was able to convince them to permit the client to plea to both a registerable and a non-registerable offense and ultimately after one year the registerable offense was dismissed and the client was able to avoid jail time as well, once we showed them all of the positive aspects of his life. Years of experience and knowing how to present the most favorable information and evidence the right way is the key to achieving the best possible results.

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