Clifton NJ Lewdness Defense Lawyers
Lewdness charges can be classified as either fourth degree crime or as a disorderly persons offense depending on the underlying circumstances of the alleged incident. A fourth degree lewdness charge is a felony and is handled at the Passaic County Superior Court. A disorderly persons lewdness charge is decided in the municipal court of Clifton, Wayne, Little Falls, Hawthorne, Paterson, Passaic City, Totowa or other town where the conduct allegedly took place. If you were arrested for lewd conduct, criminal sexual contact, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, aggravated sexual assault or kidnapping anywhere in Passaic County, our law office possesses the experience you need to achieve the best outcome. An attorney on our defense team is immediately available at 862-203-4070 or you may also call to set up a free initial consultation in either our Clifton or Wayne office.
The New Jersey Lewdness Law – N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4
The first step in your understanding what you are up against is to have some idea what NJ Law says about the offense of lewdness. The related law is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4 and provides that:
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 non-consenting 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. c. As used in this section:
“lewd acts” shall include the exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person.
You will note that while the language set forth under subsection (a) is rather broad, this law is certain to clarify at least one scenario where conduct is lewd. In this regard, if someone exposes their genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Elements of Disorderly Conduct Lewdness. To convict a defendant of a disorderly persons offense for lewdness, the State
- That the defendant committed some lewd and offensive act;
- The actual act was observed by a non-consenting adult; AND
- The defendant knew or should have known that this act would have been observed by a non-consenting adult who would have been alarmed by said actions.
Elements of Fourth Degree Lewdness. The prosecutor must prove the following in order to convict someone of lewdness in the fourth degree:
- That the defendant committed a lewd and offensive act;
- Which was observed by a non-consenting person;
- That the defendant knew or should have known that this act was to be observed by the aforementioned non-consenting person; AND
- That the lewd and offensive act was committed within the presence a child under the age of thirteen (13); OR
- The lewd and offensive act was committed within the presence of a person who suffers from a mental disease or defect which makes them unable to understand the sexual nature of the underlying act and that the act was observed by the victim.
Penalties for Lewd Conduct
The penalties an individual faces for violating N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4 depending on whether they are facing a disorderly persons offense or fourth degree crime. The offense of fourth degree lewd conduct carries up to eighteen (18) months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. A disorderly persons charge of lewdness involves up to six (6) months in a Passaic County Jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine.
Passaic City NJ Lewd Conduct Attorneys
The stigma that attaches to a conviction for lewdness is severe. It is not something an individual wants to show up on his or her record. If you have been charged with lewdness under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4 it is clearly in your best interests to hire the best lawyer you can afford. To this end, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 732-839-4007.
We have decades of experience defending individuals accused of lewdness in Wayne, Clifton, Paterson, Totowa, the Passaic County Superior Court and elsewhere.