What are Lewd Acts in Public?
It is an offense to engage in conduct that is considered sexually lewd or offensive in a public place such as a beach, park, public area, Movie Theater or other public area.
The lewd act must be witnessed by a third party who is offended by the act.
Elements of Lewd Act or Conduct in Public Under California Penal Code 647:
- The defendant willfully engaged in the touching or his or another’s genitals, buttocks or female breast; and
- The defendant did so with the intent to sexually arouse himself or another person or annoy or offend another person; and
- The act(s) occurred in public or in a place open to public view; and
- At the time the defendant engaged in the act(s) someone else might have been offended who was present; and
- The defendant should have known that another person who might have been offended by his conduct was present (italics added).
Sexual Behavior Between Couples in Public:
Couples who engage in spontaneous sexual conduct in public places, such as in a car in a public parking lot, when viewed by a third party, may be charged with lewd acts in public.
Lewd Conduct Stings:
Many lewd conduct offenses result from police sting operations, particularly in public restrooms, beaches, parks, private enclosures close to the public area, and more.