Exposing one's private parts or engaging in sexual activity in public or in a context that would offend others is a crime in Nevada. Penalties include fines, prison, and possible sex offender registration. However a skilled Nevada criminal defense attorney may succeed in getting the charges lessened or completely dismissed.
This article provides a summary of the Nevada crime of "open or gross lewdness." Scroll down to read about the definition, defenses, and penalties.
The legal definition of the Nevada crime of "open or gross lewdness" is extremely broad. It typically comprises the following two circumstances:
Open or gross lewdness is charged in cases where someone allegedly behaves in a sexually explicit way out in the open where others can see. Henderson criminal defense attorney Michael Becker gives an example:
Jason and his girlfriend Sandy go to a bar in the Fiesta casino and make out heavily in front of the other patrons. After they get home and Sandy goes to sleep, Jason masturbates in front of an open window. If caught, Jason and Sandy could be booked at the Henderson Detention Center. Jason and Sandy would each face charges of open and gross lewdness for their sexual acts at the bar, and Jason would face an additional charge of open and gross lewdness for his sexual acts in front of his open window.
Note that it doesn't matter in the above example whether other patrons were at the bar, or whether anyone saw Jason through the window. It also doesn't matter that Jason and Sandy didn't mean to offend anyone. Any glaringly noticeable or obviously objectionable sexual act intentionally done in a place where third parties could be exposed to it is open or gross lewdness.
Open or gross lewdness is also charged in cases where someone allegedly touches someone else in a sexual way but with no penetration, and that person doesn't consent to the touching. North Las Vegas defense attorney Mike Castillo explains.
Joshua goes to a bar in Reno and starts flirting with Susan. Susan tells him she's not interested and to go away, but Joshua then gropes her breasts and backside and bites her neck. If caught, Joshua could be booked at the Washoe Detention Facility for open and gross lewdness for sexually touching Susan, who did not consent to the touching.
The difference between open or gross lewdness and the Nevada crime of sexual assault (the legal term for rape) is that sexual assault involves penetration. This includes sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, digital sex ("fingering"), or inserting an object into a bodily orifice in a sexual way. Since there wasn't penetration the above example, Joshua shouldn't be prosecuted for rape.
Note that Nevada law does not consider breast-feeding in public open or gross lewdness.
Police often use open or gross lewdness laws to arrest gay men. Las Vegas Metro Police set up undercover sting operations in public restrooms and parks. Decoy officers pretend to be gay men out cruising and oftentimes will act flirtatious in order to bait unsuspecting gay men into doing something sexual. Then police then arrest the suspects for open and gross lewdness.
In many cases, prosecutors bring open or gross lewdness charges in conjunction with charges of the Nevada crime of indecent exposure. Indecent exposure is defined as "any open and indecent or obscene exposure of his/her person, or of another person." An example would be to expose someone's buttocks, breasts or genitalia in a place where others could see.
The main difference between the Nevada crimes of indecent exposure and open or gross lewdness is that open and gross lewdness tends to refer to sexual acts, whereas indecent exposure refers to baring private body parts whether or not it's sexually motivated.
Since open or gross lewdness is classified as a sex offense in Nevada, people convicted of it could be required to register as a sex offender. In addition to being a devastating social stigma, this severely inhibits the person's chances of gaining employment.
Not everyone who's convicted of open or gross lewdness is ordered to register as a sex offender. The more egregious the case, the more likely the defendant will be mandated to register. This is especially common in cases involving minor-aged victims.
Note that not every registered sex offender is publicly "searchable" in Nevada ... only people deemed to have a high risk of committing further sex crimes are viewable in a sex offender search. Read more about Nevada Sex Offender Registry laws.
Nevada open or gross lewdness cases are extremely fact-specific. Consequently, which defenses would work best in fighting open or gross lewdness charges depend on the unique circumstances of the case. The following are three common defense strategies:
The penalties for committing the Nevada offense of open or gross lewdness turns on whether the defendant picked up previous convictions for open or gross lewdness:
A first offense of open or gross lewdness is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada. The punishment includes:
A subsequent offense of open or gross lewdness is a category D felony
in Nevada. The punishment carries:
The penalties for a Nevada violation of indecent exposure law are the same as the penalties for open or gross lewdness:
A first offense of indecent exposure is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:
A subsequent offense of indecent exposure is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:
If you've been accused of violating Nevada "open or gross lewdness" law under NRS 201.210, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (333-3673). We'll do what we can to attempt to get the charges dropped or reduced to keep the incident off your criminal record and to steer you clear of the sex offender registry.
We represent client throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Washoe County, Reno, Carson City, Laughlin, Mesquite, Bunkerville, Moapa, Elko, Pahrump, Searchlight and Tonopah.
To learn more see our articles on Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys, misdemeanor in Nevada, gross misdemeanor in Nevada, category D felony in Nevada, Nevada crime of breach of peace, Henderson criminal defense attorney, North Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, Henderson detention center, Nevada crime of indecent exposure, Nevada defense of entrapment, Washoe Detention Facility, Nevada immigration laws, crime of moral turpitude in Nevada, Nevada Sex Offender Registry laws, Nevada crime of sexual assault, and motion to suppress evidence in Nevada. For information about the California crime of Lewd or Dissolute Conduct in Public | Penal Code 647(a) PC, see our article on California crime of Lewd or Dissolute Conduct in Public | Penal Code 647(a) PC .
If you or a loved one faces misdemeanor or felony charges, contact our Las Vegas NV criminal defense attorneys at (702) DEFENSE. We'd be glad to meet with you for a free consultation. We practice throughout Nevada, including Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Carson City, Boulder City, Mesquite and Laughlin.
A Powerful, Effective Advocate to Have in Your Corner
In my time of need I called on Neil Shouse and his law firm. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. Not only did he step up to assist me, he went the extra mile in every sense of the word. I found Neil to be honest, professional, and tireless in his efforts on my behalf.
Great staff, straight shooters and trustworthy! From my first meeting with Nancy who made me feel at ease, to Michael Becker's knowledge and experience all the way through court with Michael Castillo, I felt I was in the best hands Vegas has to offer!
- Devon, a Domestic Violence client
My experience has been very good so far and I was very pleased with the outcome of the case. I have already recommended the firm to others.
- Greg, a DUI client
I am forever in debt with gratitude with my Lawyer and the Criminal Defense Group because they helped during the time when I almost gave up hope but everything happens for a reason and my case turned out just the way he told me the first day I talk to my Lawyer. I just wish that all the people that will and had made some bad decisions in their life will be able to find the means to hire/use the services of Michael Becker or the Group where he belongs. God bless you sir and keep doing what your doing and I will see you again when I will have my case sealed.
- a Fraud client
If you'd like further assistance...
Join us to discuss your DUI case at any of our
local offices: You can also contact us 24/7 at
702-DEFENSE for a free consultation
Las Vegas Office:
2300 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Copyright © 2013 Shouse Law Group - Nevada Criminal Defense Attorney - Vegas DUI Defense Lawyer - All rights reserved.
Las Vegas Indecent Exposure Defense Attorney Disclaimer: The open or gross lewdness, indecent exposure, lewd conduct, sexual assault, sex crimes or other legal defense information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Nevada.
We employ Copyscape Premium. Any republishing of copyrighted material without the express written consent of the publisher is prohibited. Such plagiarism is illegal, constitutes professional misconduct and constitutes an infringement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.