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OPEN LEWDNESS

OPEN LEWDNESS

Public indecency under the Pennsylvania criminal code includes multiple offenses, such as open lewdness, obscene material, and prostitution. The crime prohibits conduct that has an immediate offense or frightening impact on members of the public who observe or are likely to observe the conduct.

Other related offenses include disorderly conduct under § 5503 or §21.74 and indecent exposure under § 3127.

Lewdness is determined by a community standard so what is considered “lewd” may be different depending on what community where you live.

Open lewdness is charged as a third-degree misdemeanor. Third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to one (1) year in prison and up to $5,000 fines.

Attorney for Open Lewdness in West Chester, Pennsylvania

If you or someone you know has been charged with open lewdness, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA who will fight to lessen your chances of criminal penalties.

Attorney Michael J. Skinner of Skinner Law Firm represents clients accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses throughout the Boroughs of West Chester in Chester County, Lancaster in Lancaster County, Media in Delaware County, and Norristown in Montgomery County.

Call (610) 436-1410 for a consultation to discuss your pending criminal charges.


Elements of Open Lewdness under §5901

Lewdness is judged by what the community is willing to tolerate in public sexuality and public nudity, so it is not an absolute standard.

To be found guilty of open lewdness under Pennsylvania law, the prosecutor must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, each of the following elements:

  • that the defendant committed a lewd act; and
  • that the defendant knew that his or her act would likely to be observed by other persons who would be affronted or alarmed.

A “lewd act” is defined as an act that, if it were done in public, would grossly flout community standards regarding sexuality, nudity, and sexual behavior in public.


Examples of Open Lewdness

The most common examples of public indecency under the “open lewdness” have included the following:

  • sexual intercourse or other types of sexual conduct in public
  • masturbation in public
  • displaying private body parts not designated for such display
  • mere nudity in a public place
  • urinating or relieving oneself in public

Additional Resources

Section § 5901 Open Lewdness –Visit Pennsylvania General Assembly, the official website of the Pennsylvania legislature to find criminal offenses under Chapter 59 related to public indecency. You can also read the full statutory language for the third-degree misdemeanor of open lewdness.

Finding a Lawyer for Open Lewdness in Chester County, PA

Open lewdness is a crime that not only has criminal consequences but has a public stigma associated with it. If you are fighting open lewdness charges, having a supportive criminal defense attorney is invaluable.

Call Skinner Law Firm to learn more about how to handle public indecency charges. Our offices are located in Southeast Pennsylvania.

Attorney Michael J. Skinner represents clients accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses throughout the Boroughs of Lancaster in Lancaster County, West Chester in Chester County, Media in Delaware County, and Norristown in Montgomery County.

This article was last updated on Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Michael Skinner
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