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Charges for sex crimes not only bring shock, fear, and controversy, they can also result in serious penalties that permanently alter the course of a defendant's life. Often, those who are convicted of sex related crimes will pay hefty fines and spend time in prison. Not to mention the most serious consequence of all: one can be required to register as a sex offender for life under California Penal Code Section 290, which will severely limit where he or she can live in Los Angeles, whom they can come into contact with, and have their personal information posted on the internet. All of these devastating consequences will have major impacts on both professional and personal aspects of the lives of all affected. Those who have been charged with sex crimes should be fully informed of their rights, the nature of the criminal charges they are facing and their consequences in order to have the best chance at a better future.

At The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann, we understand the devastating toll a conviction can have on the life of a defendant. If you have been accused of such crimes, it is highly important that you seek out qualified legal representation. Through a no-cost consultation with Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer Daniel E. Kann, you can understand your legal options and what actions may be in your best interest. Call Dan today at (310) 954-9356.

Engaging in or Soliciting Lewd Conduct - California Penal Code Section 647(a)

California Penal Code 647(a) is violated when:

  1. you engage in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place, or
  2. you solicit someone else to do so.

Lewd conduct is defined as touching your private parts or the private parts of another when you do so:

  1. for the purpose of sexual gratification, or
  2. to annoy or offend someone else.

Private parts consist of:

  • the genitals,
  • the buttocks, or
  • a female breast.

The crime of Lewd Conduct is broad and actually includes any type of sex act, as long as it takes place in a public location, in a place open to the public, or exposed to public view, and the person or persons engaging in the sexual act, knew or reasonably should have known that someone was watching or was present and would be offended by the act.

Because of the broad interpretation of Lewd Conduct, many different acts may bring about charges by prosecutors as potentially satisfying the elements this crime. Therefore, everything from having sex in a public area, such as a park, public bathroom, parking lot, or restaurant, or even in a private structure with an owner's permission can be considered as grounds for a Lewd Conduct charge. Additionally, soliciting another person to engage in lewd conduct can also be grounds for a Lewd Conduct charge. It is important to note that as the law stands today, a conviction for the crime of Lewd Conduct will not require a defendant to register as a sex offender.

Penalties for Lewd Acts in Public:

A conviction of Penal Code Section 647(a) is punishable as a misdemeanor by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a $1000 fine. No registration as a sex offender is required at this time.

Defenses to a Charge of 647(a) Lewd Conduct:

Legal defenses to lewd conduct charges include:

  • You did not touch your private parts or someone else's.
  • You did touch private parts, but it was not for sexual gratification.
  • You reasonably believed there was no one present who would be offended.
  • You were not in a public place or a place open to public view.
  • Police misconduct such as entrapment.

California Indecent Exposure - California Penal Code Section 314

A criminal act that is similar to the charge of lewd conduct is indecent exposure. While these two crimes share many features, there are vital distinctions between the two that are important to understand should you be facing any of these allegations.

Indecent exposure, according to California Penal Code Section 314, is defined as a person "willfully and lewdly" exposing his or her private parts "in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed thereby" or exhibits him- or herself to "public view, or the view of any number of persons, such as is offensive to decency, or is adapted to excite or vicious or lewd thoughts or acts."

In short, the crime of Indecent Exposure is violated when:

  1. A person willfully exposed himself or his privates;
  2. In a public place;
  3. Where other people are present; and
  4. The act caused the other people to be offended.

Penalties for Indecent Exposure:

The crime of Indecent Exposure is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1000. A second or subsequent conviction for this crime is a felony and is punishable by up to three years in state prison.

It is important to note that a conviction of California Penal Code 314, Indecent Exposure will require one to register as sex offender for life under California Penal Code Section 290.

Defenses to Indecent Exposure:

  • You never exposed yourself,
  • You did not know that anyone else was present who would be offended, or
  • Mistaken identity.

In some cases in which a defendant is charged with indecent exposure under Penal Code 314, a skilled Los Angeles defense attorney may negotiate the charge down to a lewd conduct charge under Penal Code 647(a), thereby avoiding the life-long penalty of registration as a sex offender for their client.

Lewd Acts vs. Lewd Conduct

Lewd Act - California Penal Code Section 288

While the two terms may confuse some, lewd acts and lewd conduct involve different circumstances and result in vastly different penalties. Lewd Acts, as defined by California Penal Code Section 288, involve a person willfully and lewdly committing a lewd or lascivious act upon or with a child younger than 14 years old.

The crime of Lewd Acts with a Child is violated if:

  1. The defendant willfully and lewdly touched the body of a child.
  2. The child was under 14 years old.
  3. The touching was done with the intent to arouse, appeal, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the defendant or the child.

Penalties for Conviction of Penal Code 288

A conviction for lewd acts with a child is punishable as a felony, with the potential for three, six, or eight years in prison. However, penalties can increase to five, eight, or 10 years in prison if the suspect committed the alleged crime through using "force, violence, duress, menace, of fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury" or if he or she was the child's caretaker.

Moreover, unlike the crime of Lewd Conduct under Penal Code 647(a), the crime of Lewd Act with a Child under Penal Code Section 288, does not have to be committed in public and will result in mandatory registration as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290. Also, a felony conviction of Penal Code 288 falls under California's Three Strikes Law. Please refer to the Three Strikes page on our website for more information.

Defenses to the Charge of Lewd Acts with a Child

  • The alleged victim is lying or mistaken.
  • The child is blaming the wrong person, i.e., another adult committed the crime.
  • The touching was accidental.
  • The defendant did not intend to cause sexual arousal.

Defending Your Rights in the Present and Future

Los Angeles sex crimes defense attorney Daniel E. Kann has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of defendants and preserving their future wellbeing. The skills, resources, and insight gained from these years of experience are directly applied to crafting skillful defenses tailored to the cases and needs of each client. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, it is vital that you get to work defending your rights as soon as possible. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann today at (310) 954-9356 and receive a free consultation on your case.