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.
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;
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.