Lewdness and Indecent Exposure in New Jersey - N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-4
New Jersey law prohibits people from engaging in lewd behavior, or indecent exposure. Several different types of acts can be classified as lewdness. Depending on the circumstances, those acts can be punishable as a either a disorderly persons offense, or as a crime of the fourth degree. Like any sex crime conviction, the immediate and long-term consequences could be devastating for an individual. If you were recently charged with lewdness or indecent exposure, you should seek help right away from an experienced New Jersey sex crimes lawyer such as Jason A. Volet. With years of experience as both a criminal prosecutor and defense attorney, he understands both sides of the law. He can meet with you immediately to review your case and help you to understand and explore all of your options. To learn more about how Jason can help you, call or reach us online today and receive a free and confidential consultation about your case.
What Is Indecent Exposure and Lewdness in New Jersey?
New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-4) defines “lewd acts” as “exposing the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or any other person.” As you can imagine, several different types of behavior can fall within this definition. For example:
- Intentionally exposing one’s genitals to another (“flashing”)
- Engaging in sexual acts in a public place
- Exposing one’s buttocks to another (“mooning”)
- Urinating in an open, public area
As we have seen at The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, many people are charged with indecent exposure or lewdness because of regretful mistakes they made while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, a couple may engage in sexual relations with each other in the wrong place at the wrong time – for instance, in a public rather than private place such as a beach, or in a motor vehicle, where others could have possibly observed them. It is important to know that engaging in this type of behavior may violate a city, township or campus ordinance, or it may violate a school honor code, in addition to being a violation of New Jersey law. So, if you are charged with indecent exposure or lewdness charge, you should work with an attorney such as Jason A. Volet who will consider and address all aspects of your case.
What Are the Penalties for Indecent Exposure and Lewdness?
If you are convicted for committing a lewd act in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-4, the punishment that you could face would depend on the type of offense. For instance, under N.J.S.A 2C: 14-4a, a person can face punishment for a disorderly persons offense if the person is found to have committed “any flagrantly lewd and offensive act” which the person knew or reasonably expected would likely be observed by “other non-consenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.” A disorderly persons offense carries penalties that include:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
- License suspension for up to two years if a motor vehicle was involved
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4b, a person can face punishment for a crime of the fourth degree if the person is found to have exposed his or her intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person or of any other person under circumstances where the person knew or reasonably expected he or she would likely be observed by:
- A child who is less than 13 years of age where the person was at least four years older than the child, or
- A person who because of mental disease or defect was unable to understand the sexual nature of the person’s conduct.
A crime of the fourth degree can carry serious consequences, including:
- Up to 18 months in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
- License suspension for up to two years if a motor vehicle was involved.
In addition to these potential penalties, a person convicted of indecent exposure or lewdness can face many other collateral consequences which can affect the person’s educational and career opportunities. For example, many employers conduct criminal background checks, which can reveal a conviction for a disorderly persons offense or crime of the fourth degree. Colleges also require people to disclose their criminal background when they apply for admission. Due to all of these potential consequences, it is important to seek help as soon as you have been charged with lewdness or indecent exposure in New Jersey. You should never ignore the charge. You should also not try to handle it on your own. You could end up making costly mistakes.
How Can a Lawyer Help If You Are Charged with Indecent Exposure or Lewdness?
When you work with experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason A. Volet, he will review your lewdness or indecent exposure charge with you. A review of the facts of your case may establish that you could not have reasonably expected that someone else would have likely viewed your actions. On the other hand, a review may reveal that your best interests would be served by pleading to a lesser offense such as a violation of a city, township or campus ordinance. Such a plea would allow you to keep a sex crime conviction off your record. Jason will make sure that you understand the nature of the charge against you as well as all defenses and other options available to you. He will then aggressively pursue those defenses and options and seek the best possible outcome in your case.
Get Help from a New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
As a former Monmouth County prosecutor, Jason A. Volet knows how important it is for people accused of a sex crime such as lewdness or indecent exposure to hire an experienced defense attorney as early in the process as possible. That’s why our New Jersey criminal defense law firm offers free consultations in these cases. You deserve to have an aggressive advocate on your side who will fight the charge against you and do everything possible to protect your reputation, your future and your freedom. To discuss your case, contact us now and schedule a free and confidential consultation through our office in Freehold or Neptune.