Have You Been Charged With Lewdness For Mooning Your Friends?
At some point in your life you may have found yourself joking around with friends when suddenly you drop your pants to “moon” them. Did you know that you could be charged with lewdness under New Jersey State law? Even peeing in public can constitute a charge of lewdness (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4). The penalties for lewdness in New Jersey can be fines, probation or even jail time.
What Is Public Lewdness (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4)?
Lewdness in New Jersey is an offense that could have more serious consequences than someone would anticipate. Lewdness, or indecent exposure, will usually arise from two people getting a little too risqué in a place they didn't expect others to see them. The penalty you receive for this charge will depend on the specifics of your actions. A person will be charged if they have been “flagrantly lewd” while performing an offensive act, whether sexual in nature or by exposing ones genitals, in which the viewers is an unfortunate witness to that act.While the statute is written broadly on purpose, it still makes one thing clear; if you are showing too much skin or flashing the wrong areas, you are making yourself available to receive a lewdness charge.
What Are The Penalties?
The penalties for lewdness in New Jersey can be large fines, potential prison time, and a lasting stigma. If you are in violation of section “a” of the statute, you may be charged with a disorderly persons offense. This warrants a fine up to $1,000 and up to 18 months in prison. More importantly, if you are charged with violating section “b” of the statute, you face a 4th degree criminal charges. This may occur when a child less than 13 years of age views your inappropriate actions or someone who is mentally immature sees you (mental defect or something of that nature). For a 4th degree crime in New Jersey, the defendant can face fines up to $10,000 and 6 months in jail. Additionally, you may be forced to register as a sex offender. This has the ability to create an enormous stigma, and will certainly affect future employment, rental, and licensing opportunities.
What Should You Do If Charged With Lewdness?
If you have been charged with lewdness or indecent exposure in New Jersey, contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. immediately. You should fight this charge with all that you have; being forced to register as a sex offender for a wild night or some drunken decision should not ruin your life. There are defenses that exist to this charge as the prosecution must prove you acted with the applicable purpose and that you reasonably expected to be observed. These are not always easy to establish, and the court must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.
Because of the ambiguities and gray areas of lewdness law, an aggressive criminal defense attorney may be able to save the day. Call Villani & DeLuca today at 732-820-1256 for a FREE legal consultation.