Lewd Conduct in Hunterdon County

New Jersey Sex Crimes Attorney – Anthony N. Palumbo

Lewd conduct charges flourished in New Jersey during the 2010 summer months, especially near the New Jersey shore where beaches create a tempting environment to disrobe.  Lewd conduct is a unique charge and is one of many charges in which seemingly innocent conduct can result in criminal penalties.  In New Jersey, there are two main ways to commit lewd conduct.  The first way is by committing an offensive act which a person could reasonably expect to be observed by people who have not consented to see such an act and who would be alarmed or offended by it.  If a person is convicted of lewd conduct in this manner, it is a disorderly persons offense which carries $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in prison.  The second way lewd conduct can be committed is when a person exposes his private parts to gratify himself or someone else under circumstances that he can reasonable expect to be observed by a child under 13 years old, a child who is at least four years younger than the actor, or someone with a mental defect.  This is more serious than the first type of lewd conduct and is a fourth degree crime, carrying up to 18 months in prison on conviction.

For an example of lewd conduct, consider a recent case in Hunterdon County in which a man was charged with lewd conduct after he removed his clothes and masturbated inside of a public building.  Most likely this case would qualify under the first type of lewd conduct because it does not appear to involve a child or a person with a mental defect.  In this case, the actor was hired to clean a public building, but at some point after he arrived, he began to masturbate within the line of vision of a woman who was washing dishes next door.  The woman claims that the defendant was looking at her while he was committing the masturbatory act.  When the police were informed, they went to the building to question the man.  He answered the door in his clothes and explained to officers that he sometimes removes his clothes when he gets hot at work.  Police found a pair of boxers in the man’s pocket and arrested him.  He was charged with lewd conduct and criminal sexual contact.