Hudson County NJ Lewdness Attorney
New Jersey treats lewdness offenses very seriously and has them grouped with sex crimes such as sexual assault because they can often be charged as a companion charge to an aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or endangering the welfare of a child. This is why lewdness charges, also known as indecent exposure, are often viewed as a stigma by the general public and can be embarrassing if uncovered. However, lewdness is also commonly charged when two consenting adults are engaging in sexual relations in a parked car, restroom or park and are stumbled upon by a bystander or police officer. The good news is that lewd conduct criminal charges under 2C:14-4 can often be downgraded or even dismissed so that it does not result in a permanent criminal record. Our criminal defense attorneys are experienced in handling lewdness and related charges and we will fight to get you the best result. If you would like to learn more about how we may be able to help you, contact our office today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation today.
What Is A Lewdness Charge in New Jersey?
In New Jersey it is considered a “lewd act” if you expose your genitals for the purpose of arousal or sexual gratification for you or another person. One big misconception among the public is that lewdness has to be a purposeful act such as flashing someone. However, a large amount of clients that we represent never actually meant for anyone to see them. This is because the Lewdness statute under 2C:14-4 defines the crime as engaging in flagrantly lewd and offensive acts which are “likely to be observed” by non-consenting persons who will be alarmed. The “sexual arousal” element of the statute protects defendants who are caught exposing themselves for less devious purposes such as urinating in public because they can’t find a restroom close by.
Is Lewd Behavior A Misdemeanor or Felony?
We don’t say this often – but it can actually be both a misdemeanor or felony. Under most circumstances, a crime of lewdness will be a disorderly persons’ offense that is punishable by up 6 months in jail and handled in municipal court. However, the charge can be upgraded to a 4th degree indictable crime if the victim who observes the act suffers from a mental disability. Moreover, the offense will also be a 4th degree crime if the victim who observed the lewd act was under 13 years old and you are at least 4 years older than the minor child. The defendants facing 4th degree charges will be subject to incarceration in New Jersey state prison for up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000 if they are found guilty. Moreover, all indictable crimes will be referred up to the Superior Court of the county in which the crime was alleged to have been committed and the case will be handled by the County Prosecutor’s Office.
New Jersey Lewdness Law 2C:14-4
a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.
b. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if:
(1) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a child who is less than 13 years of age where the actor is at least four years older than the child.
(2) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a person who because of mental disease or defect is unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor’s conduct.
Experienced Jersey City Criminal Lawyer Offering Free Consultations For Lewdness Charges
At Proetta & Oliver, our criminal defense attorneys are well experienced in defending clients who have been charged with felony lewdness in the Hudson County Superior Court as well as defending misdemeanor lewdness in the municipal courts throughout the surrounding area such as Hoboken, North Bergen, Union City, Kearny, Secaucus and West New York. Given the sensitive nature of these cases, prosecutors and alleged victims are normally very aggressive about pursuing these cases. Situations like this can often benefit from the negotiation and litigation skills of a seasoned criminal attorney. If you or your loved one has been charged with a crime of lewdness then it is important that you consult with an experienced attorney about your rights and options. We can be reached by phone at (201) 793-8018 and offer flexible options such as a confidential phone consultation or an in-person consultation at one of our many office locations.