A lewdness conviction in Utah can result in incarceration, expensive fines, and in some cases, mandatory registration as a sex offender. You will also receive a permanent criminal record, which can be a major problem when it comes to finding employment, qualifying for professional licenses, and other opportunities.
You stand to lose everything you hold dear. If you or one of your loved ones has been charged with lewdness in Utah, you need a tough, skilled, and experienced sex crimes attorney on your side.
Contact Our Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Salt Lake City lewdness lawyer Darwin Overson has over 16 years of experience working on thousands of felony and misdemeanor criminal cases. When other attorneys back down or take the easy way out, Darwin leaves no stone unturned, digging into every detail of your arrest and detention to determine whether any of your Constitutional rights were violated. Darwin is passionate about defending his clients’ legal rights, and will fight tenaciously to have your charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Darwin handles lewdness charges in West Valley City, Provo, West Jordan, Orem, Sandy, Layton, Taylorsville, Lehi, Logan, Draper, Bountiful, and other communities throughout the state of Utah. He is also available to visit detainees in county jail if your loved one is in custody. To set up a free legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287, including late nights and weekends. Darwin is here for you 24 hours a day. He will help you understand your next steps.
What Happens When You Get Arrested for Lewdness in Utah?
Police officers do not necessarily need a warrant to make a lawful arrest. There are three basic scenarios in which a person can be arrested:
- A police officer observes a person apparently committing an act of lewdness.
- A police officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed an act of lewdness.
- A police officer obtains an arrest warrant from a judge.
Once a person has been arrested, he or she should not be held in custody for more than 72 hours. If the prosecutor has not filed charges by this time, the detainee should be released. Prosecutors frequently seek time extensions that turn three days into one or two weeks, but such extensions are unconstitutional and Darwin will challenge them at every turn.
If your family member is being held in custody at a county jail, you should call Darwin immediately to set up an attorney jail visit. Darwin is happy to help you with any matters related to posting bail, and can assist you with a bail reduction hearing if the cost is too great of a financial hardship for your family.
Though technically classified as an “offense against public order and decency,” lewdness is a sex crime. While people tend to think of it in terms like “public indecency” or “indecent exposure,” this is not quite accurate. The crime of “indecent public display” involves showing others a depiction of sexual content, such as a pornographic image, whereas lewdness involves actually performing sexual acts.
There are several elements the prosecutor must prove in order for a jury to convict a defendant of lewdness. These elements are that:
- The defendant committed an act of sodomy, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or exposure (breast, buttocks, anus, pubic area).
- The defendant acted in a public place, or “under circumstances which the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm” to another person who is at least 14 years old.
Depending on whether the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or felony, their first criminal court hearing will be the first appearance (for felonies) or the arraignment (for misdemeanors). Darwin will thoroughly prepare you for what to expect at all of your court hearings.
Criminal Penalties: Fines and Sentencing
Utah separates crimes into two broad categories: misdemeanors (lesser offenses) and felonies (extremely serious offenses). Many people falsely assume that misdemeanors “aren’t a big deal.” While it’s true that misdemeanors do carry lighter penalties than felonies, make no mistake: a conviction of either can result in fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. Furthermore, you may be required to register as a sex offender, a topic explained in greater detail below.
Lewdness can be classified as either a Class B misdemeanor or a felony of the third degree, depending on the details of the offense. This skips over an entire misdemeanor class (Class A), which means the penalties for felony lewdness are substantially greater than those for a misdemeanor offense. The maximum fine is five times greater, while the maximum sentence is 10 times longer.
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Maximum Fine – $1,000
- Maximum Sentence – 6 months in jail
- Third Degree Felony
- Maximum Fine – $5,000
- Maximum Sentence – 5 years
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I Get Convicted?
The answer to this question depends on two factors: whether you have prior lewdness offenses, and whether the offense involved a child. You will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of no less than 10 years if:
- You are convicted of lewdness involving a child.
- You have three prior convictions for lewdness (not involving a child). A fourth lewdness conviction will result in mandatory placement on the Utah Sex Offender Registry.
For the entire decade you are on the registry, you will be required to meet strict rules and requirements – failures to comply with which may result in additional criminal charges. Additionally, your photograph and personal information will be publicly displayed online, including your name, license plate, address, place of employment, and the offense you were convicted of.
If you or one of your family members has been charged with committing lewdness, it’s important to begin reviewing your legal options as soon as possible. Call Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer Darwin Overson right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation. Your information will be kept confidential.