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Open or gross lewdness is a crime in Nevada that people often confuse with indecent or obscene exposure, even though they are actually two separate offenses. (Nevada Revised Statute § 201.210 establishes the crime of open or gross lewdness, whereas indecent or obscene exposure is prohibited under Nevada Revised Statute § 201.220.) However, the penalties are the same for either violation.

Indecent or obscene exposure involves an alleged offender making any open and indecent or obscene exposure of their person or the person of another. Open or gross lewdness encompasses a far broader group of activities. Nevada law does not specifically define lewdness, but the criminal charge usually will apply when an individual performs a sexual act in public.

What Constitutes Lewdness?

Lewdness could mean a sexual act that is performed in public or one that is performed in a private setting but is viewable by members of the public. Lewdness could also be defined as nonconsensual sexual contact with another person, not involving penetration.

Any nonconsensual sexual act that does not constitute rape will usually result in open or gross lewdness charges. Keep in mind that adults who engage in oral or anal sex in public could be charged with the commission of sexual acts in public under Nevada Revised Statute § 201.190.

Is Lewdness a Felony?

Open or gross lewdness is a gross misdemeanor for a first offense when an alleged offender has no prior sex offense convictions. A conviction is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

A first open or gross lewdness offense by a person who has a prior sex offense conviction or any subsequent open or gross lewdness offense is a category D felony. A conviction is punishable by up to four years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000, and the offender will have to register as a sex offender.

What Does Lewdness with a Minor Mean?

Nevada Revised Statute § 201.230 establishes the crime of lewdness with a child under 16 years of age. A person commits this offense if he or she willfully commits any lewd or lascivious act upon a child under 16 years of age.

Lewdness with a child who is 14 or 15 years of age is a category B felony punishable by up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. When an alleged victim is under 14 years of age, the offense is a category A felony punishable by life in state prison with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 10 years has been served and a fine of up to $10,000.

If a person has been previously convicted of lewdness with a child or any other sexual offense against a child, the second offense is a category A felony punishable by life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Is Having Sex in Public a Crime?

Yes, a person who has sex in public can be charged with the commission of sexual acts in public under Nevada Revised Statute § 201.190. This is a category D felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 that also requires sex offender registration.

Contact a Nevada Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you were recently arrested and accused of open or gross lewdness in the greater Las Vegas area, you are going to want to make sure that you are working with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please contact the Law Office of Joel M. Mann as soon as possible.

Our lawyer has been defending residents and visitors to Las Vegas and Clark County since 2006. Joel M. Mann can review your case and explain all of your legal options when you call (702) 986-0565 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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