Lewdness is Considered Domestic Violence in NJ
Domestic violence is a heinous crime. For the victims, it’s easier to pretend like nothing has happened to them rather than confront the problem head-on. As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is bringing to light domestic abuse in New Jersey and ways to combat it.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act sets the guidelines for criminal charges under the category of domestic violence in the Garden State. Of the nearly two dozen crimes related to domestic violence, there is one that should receive more attention. That is lewdness, also known as indecent exposure.
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4, the statute that governs lewdness, is designed to protect people who do not consent, but with particular emphasis on children and those suffering from some disability. The severity of the penalties associated with lewdness is dependent upon the accused’s actions.
Lewdness is generally described as a behavior that is morally unacceptable in a sexual sense. Sometimes difficult to define, a lewd act can include the exposing of genitals to sexually arouse or gratify the person performing the act or another person. Common examples of lewdness may include sexual acts or touching in any public place, such as a restroom, beach, or park.
You may ask how lewdness is an act of domestic violence, especially since indecent exposure would seemingly not take place between two people in a domestic setting. It is rare, but it does happen. The act could be a precursor to a sexual act, something the victim may not want. When a lewd act happens, it can bring humiliation and shame to the victim. It is an exercise in power and domination. Doing something to stop the situation can be difficult because they are not the ones in a position of power. Their abuser is, and they may be afraid to come forward about their experience.
Penalties for Lewdness
According to New Jersey law, someone is committing a disorderly persons offense if he or she “does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he [or she] knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.” A disorderly persons offense for lewdness carries up to six months in prison and $1,000 in fines.
However, there are acts of lewdness that are even worse with criminal penalties of the fourth-degree variety. For this to occur, a person would have to expose his or her intimate body parts for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the person performing the act or of any other person under circumstances where he or she:
- knows or reasonably expects he or she is likely to be observed by a child who is less than 13 years of age where the actor is at least four years older than the child
- knows or reasonably expects he or she is likely to be observed by a person who because of mental disease or defect is unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor’s conduct
A fourth-degree crime involving lewdness can carry penalties of up to 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone
Did your partner violate you? In New Jersey, that is considered an act of lewdness which is a crime associated with domestic violence. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we take domestic abuse seriously. We will ensure something like this doesn’t happen to you ever again. Contact us today for a confidential free consultation.