Being arrested for a sex offense can be both scary and embarrassing. Even if the accused person did nothing wrong, the idea of appearing in court and needing to defend oneself can be a daunting proposition. At the Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we handle a wide array of these cases, including crimes like sexual assault and lewd conduct. If you need to talk to a San Bernardino or Riverside sex crime lawyer about your legal rights, we are here for you. With over a decade of legal experience and more than 100 felony trials under his belt, Attorney Comings will be candid with you about the likelihood of a conviction and will work hard to minimize the impact that a criminal accusation of lewd conduct or another sex offense may have on your future.
California Penal Code § 647(a) is the governing statute for the criminal offense of lewd conduct. In essence, the statute says that it is a crime to either engage in lewd (or “dissolute”) conduct in public or solicit someone else to do so. So-called “lewd” conduct generally means touching one’s own private parts or touching another person’s private parts for the purpose of sexual gratification or to annoy or offend another person. The crime of lewd conduct is a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. The offense does not require registration on the sex offender registry. (However, a defendant may also be charged with other crimes along with lewd conduct – such as indecent exposure, for example – that do require registration.)Defending a Charge of Lewd Conduct Under California Law
Simply being accused of a crime is not tantamount to an actual conviction of that criminal offense. There may be multiple defenses of which an accused may be able to avail himself or herself, depending upon the situation. For example, their attorney might be able to raise a legitimate factual issue as to whether the defendant knew or should have known that the conduct in which he or she engaged was likely to be offensive to others or whether others were even present at the time of the allegedly illegal act. Furthermore, unlike crimes such as prostitution or solicitation, lewd conduct is only illegal when it is done in a public place or a place that is open to public view.
Unfortunately, “sting” operations by the police are fairly common in lewd conduct cases. The good news is that entrapment may be a possible defense in such situations. Entrapment occurs when officers use coercion or overbearing tactics to induce a law-abiding citizen to commit a crime that they otherwise would not have committed. However, the officer must do something more than simply offer the defendant an opportunity to commit a crime in order for this defense to be successful. The officer must have done something like apply pressure on the defendant to commit the crime, harass or threaten the defendant, or commit an act of fraud (like telling the defendant that the act in question was legal when it was not).Get Started on Your Case with an Assertive Attorney in Riverside or San Bernardino County
Regardless of whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense such as lewd conduct or a more serious sex crime like rape or date rape, you need to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible if you have arrested for a sex offense or believe that you are about to be charged with a crime. The Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings helps people in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties defend themselves against these and other crimes on a regular basis. To schedule an appointment to discuss your legal situation, call us now at (951) 686-3457 or contact us online. The sooner that you call, the sooner that we can begin investigating your case and preparing the most effective legal defense available under the factual situation that gave rise to your arrest. A conviction of a sex crime is not only embarrassing but also can cause many problems in the defendant’s future, especially if it is a felony or a crime that requires sex offender registration. Do not gamble with your future by relying on a public defender – call a qualified criminal defense attorney now!