The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice describes lewdness as a “flagrantly lewd and offensive act.” It must be an act that the actor knows or reasonably expects is likely to be seen by other persons. To obtain a conviction, the State must prove that those other persons are nonconsenting, and are persons who would be affronted or alarmed.
The place in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice where lewdness is defined is N.J.S. 2C:14-4. It immediately follows N.J.S. 2C:14-3, criminal sexual contact. New Jersey classifies lewdness as a disorderly persons offense. Under some conditions, however, lewdness is elevated to a fourth degree crime. More particularly, lewdness is a fourth degree crime when a person exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of himself or anyone else when he reasonably expects he is likely to be seen by someone under the age of thirteen.
When prosecuted as a fourth degree crime, and even when prosecuted as a disorderly persons offense, lewdness charges become part of a person's criminal record. That criminal record remains with New Jersey State Police and the FBI. It is available to current and potential employers, landlords, licensing agencies, and nosy neighbors. Thus, while “only” a disorderly persons offense, a lewdness conviction will be a horrible handicap for anyone seeking decent employment, or other responsible position.
Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are highly experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. Both have successfully defended persons accused of lewdness and other sexual offenses. They are available to discuss your situation in a confidential, no-obligation conference.