California & Nevada Lewd Conduct Laws

Posted by Neil Shouse | May 19, 2008 | 0 Comments

Nevada law as to lewd conduct offenses is generally modeled upon California law. But Nevada's statutes cast a wider net and impose harsher punishments.

California's Penal Code 647a Lewd Conduct in Public prohibits touching oneself sexually in public, when third parties are present who might be offended. Nevada's NRS 201.210 Open or Gross Lewdness is based on a similar concept, but applies regardless of whether a third party who might be offended is present. Two persons engaged in sexual activity in a public location can be charged under NRS 201.210 even if they are the only two people at the location.

In terms of penalties, a person convicted of second offense of Nevada's NRS 201.210 is guilty of a felony. A second offender under California Penal Code 647a still faces only a misdemeanor.

California's Penal Code 288 defines lewd acts with a child under the age of 14 . Nevada's NRS 201.230 —lewdness with a child under 14 —is almost an identical statute. Both make it a crime to touch anywhere on the child's body if the touching is done for the sexual gratification of either the perpetrator or the child.

But California Penal Code 288 carries a penalty of up to 8 years in prison for a first offense, and 25 to life for a repeat offender. An NRS 201.230 conviction, however, carries life in prison (with the possibility of parole) on a first offense, and life without parole for the repeat offender.

Although the two states' laws are very similar, Nevada's has a further reach and a stronger punch. (Refer to our article on "Five things to know about California criminal expungements.")

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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