Indecent exposure and lewdness are against the law in Utah. Being charged with lewdness can feel overwhelming and embarrassing. Perhaps you are unsure of how to protect your rights and reputation, and worry that these charges will impact the quality of your life. These charges can seem unfair, especially if you did not intend to cause a problem or offend anyone with your actions. However, the process will seem less daunting when you have a skilled Salt Lake City lewdness defense lawyer as your advocate.
As experienced Salt Lake City lewdness defense attorneys, we understand how to fight indecent exposure and lewdness charges. We will serve as your legal advocates, trusted counselors, and skilled litigators to help support you through this difficult situation. To learn more about how we can help, contact Conyers & Nix Salt Lake City indecent exposure lawyer today at (385) 325-3375.
What Is Lewdness?
Lewdness refers to any sexual, vulgar, or obscene behavior that is offensive to others. According to Utah Code § 76-9-702, lewdness is legally defined as the performance of a sexual act in the presence of a person aged 14 or above, or under any circumstances that would reasonably cause alarm or offense. Lewdness is more commonly referred to as indecent exposure, and these terms refer to the same offense under the law.
What Scenarios Are Considered Indecent Exposure and Lewdness in Utah?
It is necessary to understand that certain scenarios are always considered indecent exposure and lewdness in Utah, if conducted in public:
- Sexual intercourse or sodomy
- Exposure of genitals, breasts, buttock, or anus
- Any other act of lewdness
While the sexual acts listed in the law are clear and easy to identify, it is much more difficult to understand what scenarios are included as “any other act of lewdness.” The open-ended nature of this definition leaves much up to interpretation, and even innocent acts can be construed as lewd. Simulating masturbation with the intent to disturb others or flashing another person, for example, are considered acts of lewdness.
Kissing in public or engaging in sexual activity in your own home while the curtains are open, on the other hand, are typically not considered to be lewd. Intent is an important element in lewdness cases, and if you did not intend to cause alarm or stimulate sexual gratification in others in a public space, the scenario may not fall under the legal definition of lewdness.
Many people wonder whether breastfeeding or public urination are considered lewd under the law. The statute explicitly states that a mother breastfeeding her child is never considered lewd, even if the skin of the breast or the nipple was exposed during the process. Public urination is more difficult to categorize, however. Depending on the factors of the case, this scenario can either be charged as public urination or as lewdness.
It is important to note that if the act qualifies as rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or forcible sodomy, then it is not considered lewdness. In these situations, the offense will be charged as the more serious crime. Your Salt Lake City indecent exposure lawyer can provide more insight into what is considered a criminal offense under Utah’s lewdness laws.
What Are the Various Charges Under Utah’s Lewdness Laws?
Utah law separates all crimes into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors refer to lesser offenses while felony charges are reserved for very serious crimes. It is common for people to assume that misdemeanor charges are trivial, but this is not the case. While misdemeanor charges carry lighter penalties compared to felonies, a conviction of either offense can result in fines, jail time, and a lengthy criminal record.
The charges for lewdness in Utah vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case, and this offense can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony based on several factors. If a person is being charged for a first or second violation, they will typically face a class B misdemeanor charge. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or a maximum of six months in jail.
The charge for this crime can escalate in certain situations. Specifically, a person may be charged with a third-degree felony if they:
- Have already been charged with lewdness two or more times
- Are a registered sex offender (Utah Code § 77-27-21.7)
- Have been previously convicted of lewdness as well as lewdness involving a child
In Utah, a third-degree felony is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum of five years in prison. The consequences of both a misdemeanor and a felony charge can impact your life and reputation greatly. A lewdness charge may hinder your ability to secure employment or pass a security clearance check. In some cases, lewdness charges may be reduced to a lesser non-sexual charge or dismissed altogether with the help of an experienced Salt Lake City lewdness defense attorney.
How Can You Fight an Indecent Exposure Charge?
A lewdness or indecent exposure charge will be taken seriously by prosecutors throughout Utah. With a well-crafted legal strategy, however, it is possible to fight an indecent exposure charge. Your Salt Lake City indecent exposure lawyer will review your case and tailor a strategy to defend your rights. There are several defenses that your lawyer can draw upon to fight your charge, including:
- Asserting that you were not aware that another person was present
- Proving that your actions do not meet the legal definition of indecent exposure or lewdness
- Contending that the actions were conducted in private and under the belief that consent was established
- Arguing that you have been wrongfully accused of the offense
With the support of an experienced legal team, you will be in a better position to fight indecent exposure allegations in an efficient and professional manner.
Hiring an Experienced Salt Lake City Indecent Exposure Lawyer
If you or a loved one is facing lewdness and indecent exposure charges, seeking legal assistance can make all the difference in the outcome of the case. With careful preparation and a well-crafted legal strategy, it is possible to minimize the consequences of your charge and move on from the situation unscathed.
Not all defense attorneys have what it takes to gain control of an indecent exposure case. Your case deserves the most proactive and competent legal representation. The lawyers at Conyers & Nix have the experience necessary to protect your rights and clear your name. We will work tirelessly to defend your case and help you regain control of your life, freedom, and reputation. To connect with our team, schedule a free consultation with us today at (385) 325-3375.