California Lewd Conduct Charges Best & Worst Case Scenario

Penal Code 647(a)

If a person is arrested by police for Lewd Conduct under penal code 647(a) pc than there are a number of best and worst case scenarios depending on the stage of the case.

I will explain what would be the best case and worst case scenerio for someone accused of lewd conduct in each step beginning with the arrest.

Post Arrest – Best Case Scenario

After an arrest a prosecuting attorney will review the following

  • Reports of the investigating officer,
  • Witness statements,
  • Statements of the accused and,

Any other facts surrounding the matter to determine if sufficient evidence on each element of the offense exists to convict.

criminal defense attorney diana aizman explains that the best possible scenario is that no charges are filed.

The goal of a defense attorney after reviewing the facts of the case and the police report would be to contact the prosecuting attorney even before charges are filed.

Your attorney can discuss with the prosecutor any likely defenses such as entrapment by the arresting officer or that a witness statement is vague or does not contain sufficient indications that a crime even occurred.

What is The Statute of Limitations For Lewd Conduct Charges Under PC 647(a)?

If no charges are brought within one year of your having allegedly committed the offense, then you cannot be prosecuted.

Post Arrest – Worst Case Scenario

The worst case scenario is that you are charged with Lewd Conduct.

Your defense attorney may have used all possible arguments in your defense that the prosecuting attorney either dismissed as unlikely or chose to believe the arresting officer and/or witness’ statements as sufficient to meet the elements of the crime.

Can You Be Charged With A Worse Crime Than Lewd Conduct?

In a worst case scenerio you could also be charged with violating Penal Code 314 pc – Indecent Exposure, if you did intentionally expose yourself to another person to either offend that person or for sexual gratification.

If convicted, you could be required to register for life as a sex offender.

It is also a felony if you have a prior conviction or you committed the offense in an inhabited dwelling.

If Charges Are Filed – Best Case Scenario

If you are charged, then you will have to at least go to court for your arraignment, the first appearance in the criminal misdemeanor process, though your attorney can appear on your behalf without your presence.

What Happens At Arraignment In Lewd Conduct Cases?

An arraignment is an appearance where the charges are read in open court, though this is routinely waived, and you or your attorney is asked to plead guilty, not guilty or nolo contendre, which is essentially a guilty plea.

It is possible that your defense attorney can work out a plea arrangement before the arraignment so that you need not have to make further appearances or continue with the uncertainty of your case outcome.

Otherwise, your attorney can discuss disposition at the pretrial conference, which takes place a few to several weeks after the arraignment.

Can You Get A Copy Of The Police Report At The Arraignment?

Attorneys will typically utilize arraignment to recieve the police report and any other evidence to begin their own investigation of the case.

What Would Be A Best Case Scenerio For Plea Bargain At Arraignment?

A satisfactory disposition could include:

  • Dismissal of all charges
  • Continuation of the case for 6 months or one year and then dismissed if no further criminal conduct occurs or charges are filed
  • Plea to an infraction such as disturbing the peace under PC 415 or to trespassing under PC 602. Infractions are not criminal violations and only a fine is imposed. These can also be charged as misdemeanors though pleading guilty to any of these is preferable since you would be pleading to a reduced charge.

Otherwise, a trial date is scheduled.

If Charges Are Filed For 647(a) pc What Is The Worst Case Scenario?

A first violation of PC 647 (a) subjects you to a 6-month jail term and a fine up to $1000 that could be imposed under these circumstances.

What Is The Worst Case Scenerio If You Are On Probation?

If you have a recent misdemeanor or felony conviction, you could still be on probation subjecting you to county jail for the misdemeanor or a state prison sentence for violating the conditions of your felony probation.

The court may sentence you to a concurrent sentence, though, with the sentence for the probation violation whether your conviction was for a misdemeanor or a felony.

What Is The Worst Case Scenerio If You Have A Prior Conviction?

If you have a prior conviction for lewd conduct, another sex offense or a felony conviction of any kind, the likelihood of a favorable plea arrangement is considerably reduced.

What is The Best Case Scenerio If You Win A Lewd Conduct Trial?

Obviously, being found not guilty is your best case scenario.

In some cases, the court will dismiss your case after the prosecution rests its case if your attorney makes a motion to dismiss based on insufficient evidence or that the state has failed to meet its burden of proof.

Can You Still Stike A Plea Bargain At Trial?

It is also possible that the prosecution could offer a plea arrangement on the day of trial or at any time before the jury or judge if a court trial reaches a verdict.

This should be considered if the charge is reduced to an infraction, which is not a criminal offense and does not appear on your record. You should rely on your attorney’s judgment any time a plea offer is made or at least seriously consider the consequences if you decide to reject the offer.

Further, if you are convicted of violating PC 647(a), you can petition the court to expunge the conviction after you have completed your sentence and all conditions of your probation, if any.

Contact your criminal defense attorney to discuss post-trial relief.

What is The Worst Case Scenerio If You Lose A Lewd Conduct Trial?

If you are found guilty of lewd conduct at trial the judge can impose the following sentence.

You are subject up to:

  • 6 months in jail for a first offense
  • You may only be placed on probation or spend some time in jail depending on the circumstances of your case if you have a criminal record.

If Indecent Conduct was included as part of your charges and you are convicted of this as well, then you face

  • 6 months in jail for a first offense
  • 16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison if it is a second conviction.

Any conviction of Indecent Exposure as a misdemeanor or felony requires that you register for life as a sex offender.

If you fail to register than you will be violation of penal code 290 pc – California’s law on failing to register as a sex offender.

More Information On The Criminal Court Process

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about how attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you would like to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

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