Orange County Lewd Conduct Lawyers

If you face charges of lewd conduct, your reputation and future are on the line. Since you may be subject to a fine and jail time, you should immediately contact a lawyer with experience defending clients accused of lewd conduct. In Orange County, CA, The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian can help you better understand the charges against you, review the specific circumstances of your case, negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf, and protect your rights. 

What is Lewd Conduct?

In California, lewd conduct under California Penal Code 647(a) is considered a misdemeanor. It means you are charged with engaging in a sexual act in public, either with yourself or with another person. 

Under PC 647(a) you committed lewd conduct if you were involved in or solicited another person to get involved in dissolute or lewd conduct in a public area, an area in public view or an area that is open to the public. For practical purposes, this means you were touching yourself, someone else, and/or encouraging another person to touch you in areas of the body that are typically associated with sexual arousal, which includes the genitals, buttocks, and female breasts, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification while in public view.

What Must the Prosecution Prove for Lewd Conduct?

In any criminal case, the prosecution must prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to sustain a conviction for lewd conduct. To prove a defendant guilty of lewd conduct under PC 647 (a), the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant:

  • willfully touched their own, or another person’s, genitals, buttocks, or female breast;
  • engaged in such touching for the purpose of either sexually arousing or gratifying themselves or another, or offending or annoying another person;
  • acted so in a public location or area open to the public;
  • acted in a way that another person, who was in view of the activity, could have been offended;
  • knew or should have known that the other person was in view of the activity and could have been offended by the defendant’s actions. 

Some of the elements of lewd conduct that the prosecution must prove are straightforward, such as the touching of genitals. Other elements are not so straightforward and leave room for interpretation:

  • The courts have said that the determination of lewd conduct should be based on whether a rational person would understand with reasonable certainty that their conduct is prohibited. Therefore, the statute does not prohibit conduct that is not reasonably understood to be prohibited.
  • More than just the likelihood of someone else seeing your activity is needed. There must be a genuine possibility that someone else could be present or in clear view of your activity.
  • What is considered “public” may not be clear. Engaging in lewd conduct in a parked car on a busy street or in the hallway of a hotel is clearly in public view. However, even the bedroom of your home can be considered in public view if the windows are not covered by curtains or blinds. 

Penalties for Lewd Acts

If you engaged in lewd conduct under California PC 647 (a), you may be punished with:

  • Fines up to one thousand dollars 
  • A maximum of six months in jail

Even if you are proven guilty, the judge has some latitude in determining punishment. For example, the judge can decide to grant you informal or summary probation with no time in jail. Your probation will likely be conditional on requirements such as AIDS testing and counseling, as well as paying a fine.

If you are convicted under PC 647(a), you will not have to register as a sex offender. However, in most cases in Orange County, CA, prosecutors charge this crime together with indecent exposure, a crime that does require registration as a sex offender. The prosecutor may agree to drop the PC 647 (a) charge if you plead guilty to indecent exposure under PC 314.  However, you should contact an experienced lewd conduct defense attorney, like those at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, before accepting such an offer to understand its consequences.

Common Defenses for Lewd Acts

At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we have used differing strategies effectively to defend our clients against a charge of lewd conduct. We have been successful in getting our client’s charges reduced or dismissed altogether. The best strategy for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Some common defenses for a charge of PC 647(a) are:

  • You did not engage in lewd conduct: If you did not touch another person or yourself as you have been accused of doing, you could be the victim of a false accusation.
  • You did touch yourself but your intention was not for sexual arousal: You may have been adjusting your clothing or scratching an itch, but a witness thought you were arousing yourself sexually. You cannot be guilty of lewd conduct if your intent was not sexual.
  • You reasonably believed you were not offending anyone: The prosecution must prove that you knew or should have known that another person could have been offended by your actions. 
  • Your behavior did not occur in a public place or an open space in public view: If you engaged in sexual activity in an enclosed private area with no open view from the public, you cannot be guilty of lewd conduct. 
  • Undercover police entrapped you: Entrapment involves misconduct of the police, such as using threats, fraud, harassment, pressure, or flattery to induce you to commit a crime that you would not have otherwise committed. 
Orange County Lewd Conduct Lawyers


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During the consultation, we will help you understand your rights and the charges against you.

Probation Terms for Lewd Conduct

If a judge grants you probation, you must diligently follow all the terms of your probation.  Probation terms may include:

  • Obedience to court orders.
  • No violation of any other law (misdemeanor or felony).
  • Payment of all fines and fees owed to the court.
  • Keeping away from the scene of the lewd conduct.
  • Possession of your government issued identification and use of your correct name and date of birth at all times.
  • Attendance at counseling sessions.
  • Getting an AIDS test.
  • Disclosing your probation terms to the police.

If you fail to follow the terms of your probation, you may be found in violation of your probation and be penalized with a fine and/or time in jail.

Arrest Process for Lewd Acts

Some lewd conduct arrests result from undercover police sting operations. Police may try to lure someone into lewd conduct or surveille public places where they believe lewd conduct may take place.

In most circumstances, the violator is given a citation to appear in court. At other times, the violator will be arrested and fingerprinted before being released with a court citation. If you have been issued a citation to appear in court for a lewd conduct violation, you should call a lawyer right away. At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we will take immediate steps to protect your rights. We will begin an investigation of the evidence, the location of the incident, the arresting officer, and any witnesses.

In Orange County, CA, you can typically expect some time to pass from the arrest to the prosecution filing formal charges. When we represent a client accused of lewd conduct, we can use this time to meet with key people at the prosecutor’s office to attempt to provide them with the mitigating and/or defense factors in an attempt to have the charges reduced or not filed. Of course the decision on whether to prosecute or not is up to the prosecution in the case and a criminal defense lawyer cannot force the prosecution not to file charges. Depending on the facts of your case, we may also negotiate to have you plead to a lesser offense, such as trespassing (PC 602) or disturbing the peace (PC 415). This would result in a lesser punishment and avoid the social stigma of a lewd conduct conviction.

Because the crime of lewd conduct is a misdemeanor, if your case does go to court, we can represent you without your having to appear. 

Protect Yourself and Your Reputation

With all that you have at stake from a charge of lewd conduct, you need experienced counsel determined to protect your rights. Led by former Orange County Deputy District Attorney Bryan R. Kazarian, the lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian bring decades of experience aggressively defending our clients. If you have been accused or charged under California Penal Code Section 647(a) for lewd conduct in Orange County, call us at 855-918-4253 or schedule a consultation online with The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian.

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Newport Beach and Fullerton to serve clients with matters heard at the Central, West, Harbor, and North Justice Centers, respectively, for all of Orange County.  The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are here to help!  Book an online consultation to get started today.
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