Penal Code 647(a) — Soliciting Lewd Conduct
Penal Code 647(a) — often referred to as Soliciting or Engaging in Lewd Conduct — is violated when a person, male or female, “solicits anyone to engage in or engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.”
Soliciting Lewd conduct is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment in the county jail.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove to Convict a Person of Soliciting for Lewd Conduct
To convict a person of soliciting lewd conduct, the prosecutor must prove all of the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant requested another person to touch his or her own or another person’s genitals, buttocks, or female breast,
- The defendant made this request in a public place,
- The defendant intended that the conduct occur in a public place,
- The defendant’s request was made with the intent to sexually gratify or arouse himself or another person, or to offend or annoy another person,
- When the defendant made the request, a third person was present who might have been offended by the conduct; AND
- The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that someone was present who might have been offended by the conduct.
Defenses to Soliciting Lewd Conduct Charges
Public sex acts are not illegal under California law. They only become illegal if the people engaged in the acts actually know or reasonably should know that others are present who might be offended by their sexual conduct.
There may be very strong defenses to solicitation for lewd conduct cases since the prosecution must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Our attorneys have gotten many lewd conduct cases either dismissed, or reduced to much less serious, non-sexual offenses, such as tresspass or disturbing the peace.
Many Penal Code 647(a) solicitation charges are arguably based on illegal entrapment, or police conducting surveilance where people would not reasonably think that a third party might be present. For example, an undercover officer may pretend to be looking for sex in a public place and lure in a person through aggressive sexual behavior.
In other cases, a couple may be having sex in a remote location — for example, at night in a secluded park — and be reasonably unaware that the police are staking out the park. The defendants may not reasonably know that anyone else was present, which would be a complete defense to the lewd conduct charges.
Contact Us Now
Schwartz & Naderi’s team of criminal defense attorneys has over 80 years of combined experience aggressively defending clients facing all types of sex-related charges, including Lewd Conduct charges, and will strategize a vigorous defense from the moment of arrest until the completion of the case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with any sex offense, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney from Schwartz & Naderi today at (310) 246-9550.