California Penal Code §647 lays out the many different scenarios in which a person can be charged for lewd conduct under the Penal Code. Under this code section, the most common charge an be found under CP §647(f), which reads in pertinent part as follows:
“Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way”
There are some very important components to this charge. The following must be present:
- They must not be able to exercise care for themselves or others and
- Obstruct or prevent the free use of any side walk or other public way, and
- This must be due to an intoxication of some type
Considering the elements required for this charge, prosecutors have a difficult case to prove. Lets consider some examples.
Donny is out with his friends at a nightclub. The nightclub has its entrance directly into an extensive parking lot. Donny has had a few drinks and is not driving that night. He is talking loudly and joking around with his girlfriend who is laughing along with him. They are walking along the parking lot to the entrance. Donny cannot be arrested under Lewd Conduct. He is intoxicated, but he is not a harm to himself nor is he obstructing any type of public walkway.
In contrast lets consider Dina. Dina has gone out with her friends to a local bar where she has had more than few drinks. The bar leads out onto a main street, along a sidewalk. After having a few drinks, Dina comes outside of the bar and starts yelling at her friends and people walking by. She eventually gets to a point where she is not letting people walk by without yelling at them. Dina could be charged and likely convicted of lewd and disorderly conduct.
A charge under this section can have long term consequences. It can be a humiliating charge and will have some social consequences as well. Fortunately, it is a charge that be argued against and with proper defenses may be dismissed. It is highly recommended that you seek the guidance and counseling of a Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer as soon as possible so that you can work with the lawyer to help prepare the best possible argument and strategy for your case. Do not delay, this could be the difference between having your case reduced or dismissed early on!