Public Lewdness

It’s against societal norms to expose certain parts of your body in public. An arrest for public lewdness, also known as indecent exposure or public nudity, can ruin your life. It’s crucial that you present a strong defense. The vague definition of the law leaves it open to interpretation. Many different acts can be interpreted as public lewdness by law enforcement officials.

If you’re facing public lewdness charges, the best thing you can do to protect your rights is to contact a qualified sex crimes attorney. If you prepare a strong defense, you could avoid legal consequences altogether.

Defense Attorney for Public Lewdness in Palm Beach County

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. has represented countless sex crimes clients just like you. A public lewdness charge may not seem like a big deal, but getting convicted for a sexual offense has consequences that can ripple across the rest of your life. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer.

Call (561) 557-8686 or fill out our online form. We will fight to drop or reduce your charges to get you the most favorable outcome possible. You can reach us 24 hours a day, so there’s no better time than now to get in touch. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, and other communities in South Florida. 

Overview of Public Lewdness in West Palm Beach, Florida

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What is Public Lewdness in Palm Beach County?

Public lewdness is charged under Florida Statute 800.03 as “exposure of sexual organs.” To find a defendant guilty of public lewdness, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  • They showed or displayed their sexual organs or were otherwise unclothed;
  • They were in public, on someone else’s private property, or close enough to someone else’s private property to be observed;
  • Their nudity or exhibition of sexual organs was for sexual gratification or intended to be lewd or vulgar; and
  • The exposure, exhibition, or nakedness was done in a vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious manner.

An experienced sex crimes attorney can verify whether each of these elements has been met. If not, it may be possible to throw out the charge.

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Examples of Public Lewdness in South Florida

One of the key elements of public lewdness is intent. If lewd (or lustful) intent cannot be proven, the charge won’t stick. A common act of public lewdness is masturbating in public. This act involves exposing one’s sexual organs with lewd intent. The offender commits this act usually because they receive sexual gratification from being watched.

Believe it or not, even acts of mischief or political protest can result in public lewdness charges. The act of “streaking,” or running naked through a public place, can get you arrested.

A woman was arrested at a Florida Bernie Sanders rally in October 2018 and charged with exposure of sexual organs after she ran topless through the crowd. She had messages written on her arms and upper torso. The woman’s intent appeared to be politically rather than sexually motivated.

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Public Lewdness vs. Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition in Florida

Exposure of sexual organs is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. Even though it’s a misdemeanor, this is still a serious charge. A conviction for public lewdness could result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A public lewdness conviction does not qualify as a registerable sex offense. Lewd or lascivious exhibition, on the other hand, does require registration as a sexual offender. According to Florida Statute 800.04, a person commits lewd and lascivious exhibition when they do any of the following to a person younger than 16 years of age: 

  • Intentionally masturbate;
  • Expose their genitals with lewd or lascivious intent; or
  • Intentionally engage in any sexual act that doesn’t involve physical or sexual contact with the victim.

An offender who is at least 18 years old commits a felony of the second degree when they violate this law. Maximum penalties include 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

An offender under the age of 18 would be charged with a third-degree felony. A possible sentence includes up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 

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Additional Resources

Exposure of sexual organs | Florida Statute 800.03 – Visit the Florida Senate’s official website, Online Sunshine, to review the law that defines public lewdness. Here you can read about the penalty for indecent exposure in Florida. This law provides an exclusion for nursing mothers.

Exposure of sexual organs | Jury Instructions – The Florida Supreme Court website hosts jury instructions on its website. These documents are provided to jurors as guidelines when determining the guilt of a defendant at trial. Visit this link to learn about the elements of public lewdness. 

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Defense Lawyer for Public Lewdness in West Palm Beach

You’re presumed innocent until you’ve been proven guilty in court. Just because you’ve been charged with public lewdness doesn’t mean you can’t fight back. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help you present your best possible defense. It may even be possible to drop your charges. We offer a free consultation to review your case.

Call (561) 557-8686 or fill out our online form. You can reach us all day, any day of the week. There’s no better time than now, so don’t wait. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents Broward and Palm Beach County clients in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Coconut Creek, Wilton Manors, and other communities across West Palm Beach.

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