The California Penal Code 647a section pertains to the crime of lewd or dissolute public conduct. This misdemeanor can warrant a fine of up to $1000 and can be punished by six months in jail. It is against the law to engage in lewd conduct or lascivious behavior in public or a place exposed to public view.
If you have been arrested and charged with a CA PC 647a violation, it is crucial that you immediately contact an attorney.
The term “lewd” refers to sexually indecent or offensive, while “dissolute” generally means lacking in moral principles. The law has not provided an exhaustive definition of lewdness, so the interpretation is typically left to the courts to decide. Some behaviors that are considered lewd are as follows:
- Exposing one’s genitals in public
- Engaging in sexual acts
- Engaging in any other sexual behavior that could be offensive to others in a public setting
Defining Public Places
According to California Penal Code, a public place is defined as a place that is open to the public or that is in a place that is exposed to public view. It can be privately or publicly owned. This might mean a park, a beach, a sidewalk, a restaurant, or any other area that the public has access to.
The Elements of a PC 647a Offense
The prosecution must establish the following elements to prove that the crime of lewd or dissolute conduct as defined by CA PC 647a occurred:
- The defendant was engaging in conduct in public or open to the public place. This includes locations that are exposed to public view.
- The defendant’s conduct was lewd or dissolute.
The prosecution must show evidence that the defendant was engaging in sexual misconduct in a public place or a location that was open to the public’s view. This simply means there needs to be proof that some kind of explicit sexual behavior happened where the public could see it.
Penalties for Violating California Penal Code 647a
California Penal Code 647a is a misdemeanor offense. The penalties it carries are listed below:
- A sentence of up to six months in jail
- Fines of up to $1,000
- Community service
Penalties may become more severe if the defendant already has prior convictions.
How a CA PC 647a Conviction Could Affect Your Life
Being convicted of any crime can complicate many areas of your life. A 647a can be even more challenging to overcome, making it all the more important to have an attorney at your side. The following lists some of the ways that a conviction could negatively impact your future:
- A criminal record complicates many areas of life. A criminal record makes obtaining housing, educational opportunities, and employment more difficult.
- Fines and penalties associated with a CA PC 647a conviction can be costly, thus having a negative impact on your finances.
- You could face probation, depending on the specifics of your case. This could result in a restriction of your activities and could require compliance with assorted conditions, like attending counseling and performing community service.
- If you are a repeat offender, or if there were aggravating circumstances, you may face jail time. In addition to the hardship of jail time, few employers will hold a job for you while you serve your sentence.
- You must register as a sex offender, which can have very serious consequences for your personal life as well as your professional one.
It is essential to mention that the consequences of a PC 647a conviction will vary due to the specifics of your case. Discussing your rights and getting legal advice from a Los Angeles disorderly conduct attorney from the outset of your arrest is essential.
Possible Defenses for CA Penal Code 647a Offenses
Your CA Penal Code, 647a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, will review your case and devise an effective strategy so that you can resolve your matter as beneficially as possible. Some of the defenses that your disorderly conduct lawyer may raise include the following:
Lack of Evidence
The onus is on the prosecution to prove all of the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. This means they must establish that the defendant engaged in lewd or dissolute behavior in public. If they cannot do this, the defendant should be found not guilty of the charge.
When the conduct alleged was between consenting adults, and only adults were involved, the defendant may have used consent as a defense to the charges. It could possibly be effective if all parties were consenting and the area is mistaken for a public place when indeed it was a private one. Your disorderly conduct lawyer in Los Angeles is capable of analyzing the charges against you and applying the most powerful defense.
Another possible defense that your attorney may assert is that you have been falsely accused of lewd conduct. False accusations may stem from various factors, such as mistaken identity. Your attorney will most likely interview witnesses to uncover other evidence that you did not participate in any lewd or lascivious conduct.
If a defendant is coaxed into the behavior or entrapped by law enforcement, it is a case of entrapment. Your Los Angeles, CA PC 647a lawyer will examine the circumstances of your case and can help you prove that yours was a situation where entrapment was used to make an arrest. This should result in the charges being dismissed.
Lack of Evidence
If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in lewd behavior in a public place, then the case will also be dismissed. This can be an effective defense.
These are only a few possible defenses. Your attorney will aid you in determining the best strategy for your case.
It Is Crucial to Seek Legal Counsel Today
If you are facing California PC 647(a) charges, having a skilled Los Angeles disorderly conduct attorney by your side can be critical to minimizing the impact on your future. These charges and the consequences that come with them can be difficult to overcome. Contact us today so that we can assist you in resolving your case successfully.