Lewdness (PL 245.00) & Exposure (PL 245.01) Desk Appearance Ticket - NYC

If an undercover or uniformed police officer sees someone exposing themselves or someone tells them they saw someone expose themselves under improper circumstances, the police can make an arrest for exposure and / or lewdness. After the arrest, the police can bring you to see a judge right away or they can issue a desk appearance ticket for lewdness and/or exposure with a later court date. The decision of whether to bring you to a judge right away or give a desk appearance ticket seems to be based largely on cost and efficiency because it is easier for the City to have you come to court voluntarily than it would be for the City to lodge you in jail for a day or longer to see the judge. Additionally, new bail laws have increased the odds that you will be issued a desk appearance ticket following arrest for lewdness and/or exposure.

What is Exposure?

Exposure, in New York, is when someone appears in a public place while the private or intimate parts of their body is unclothed or exposed and for women, showing the portion of their breast below the top of the areola is exposure except when breastfeeding.

What is Lewdness?

Lewdness, in New York, is when someone intentionally exposes their private or intimate parts in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act in public, or under circumstances in which he or she may be readily observed with the intent to be observed, or while trespassing.

What is or isn’t a lewd act is not that clearly defined in the penal law. The Oxford Dictionary defines “Lewd” as crude and offensive in a sexual way. New York, one leading case found that masturbating in public is lewd and in another leading case, rubbing an erect but clothed penis against someone else is lewd.

Lewdness and exposure are often, bot not always, charged together. This may be somewhat obvious. The most common cases involve someone engaged in a sexual act in public which is considered lewd and usually involves some degree of exposure. Sometimes this isn’t the case. If someone is exposing a private part, but not more (such as a man exposing his penis or woman exposing her breast), this may just be charged as exposure.

There are also enhanced penalties, under Penal Law section 245.03, for committing lewdness against young victims or when you've been previously convicted of public lewdness.

Avoid conviction

Being convicted of public lewdness or exposure can have a devastating effect. You face the risk of jail, a permanent criminal record, probation, a court ordered sex offender program, and court imposed supervision. It is important to seek proper legal help as soon as possible after your arrest. Lance Fletcher, a former Manhattan prosecutor, has extensive experience with lewdness and exposure cases from both sides of the aisle. With over 15 years of experience practicing criminal law in New York City, Mr. Fletcher has successfully litigated over a hundred lewdness/exposure cases. If you've been issued a desk appearance ticket for lewdness or exposure in New York City, contact us to schedule a case evaluation. A case evaluation is an important first step because it will allow us to determine defenses unique to your case and provide an overview of what it will take to get the outcome that you need.


Public lewdness (New York Penal Law)

§ 245.00 Public lewdness.

A person is guilty of public lewdness when he or she intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act: (a) in a public place, or (b) (i) in private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he or she be so observed, or (ii) while trespassing, as defined in section 140.05 of this part, in a dwelling as defined in subdivision three of section 140.00 of this part, under circumstances in which he or she is observed by a lawful occupant.

Public lewdness is a class B misdemeanor.


Public lewdness in the first degree (New York Penal Law)

§ 245.03 Public lewdness in the first degree.

A person is guilty of public lewdness in the first degree when:

1. being nineteen years of age or older and intending to be observed by a person less than sixteen years of age in a place described in subdivision (a) or (b) of section 245.00 of this article, he or she intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner for the purpose of alarming or seriously annoying such person, and he or she is thereby observed by such person in such place;
or

2. he or she commits the crime of public lewdness, as defined in section 245.00 of this article, and within the preceding year has been convicted of an offense defined in such section 245.00 or this section.

Public lewdness in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor.


Exposure of a person (New York Penal Law)

§ 245.01 Exposure of a person.

A person is guilty of exposure if he appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or exposed. For purposes of this section, the private or intimate parts of a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola. This section shall not apply to the breastfeeding of infants or to any person entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.

Exposure of a person is a violation.

Nothing in this section shall prevent the adoption by a city, town or village of a local law prohibiting exposure of a person as herein defined in a public place, at any time, whether or not such person is entertaining or performing in a play, exhibition, show or entertainment.


Arrested in New York City? Contact us today to schedule your case evaluation.

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