Shopping Trip Leads to Criminal Charges – But Not Theft

Shopping Trip Leads to Criminal Charges – But Not Theft

In many situations, when you hear that a person has been criminally charged after a shopping trip, the offense they are alleged to have committed involves a property crime such as theft. However, a quick trip to a store could also result in a public lewdness charge. Such happened when an Alabama man exposed himself inside of a grocery store late one November afternoon.

What Is Public Lewdness?

According to Alabama Code § 13A-12-130, a person commits the offense of public lewdness if they show their private parts in public where other people can see them.

The law defines the following behaviors as acts of public lewdness:

  • Exposing the anus or genitals in a public area in a way that is reckless and would cause other people to be offended or alarmed by the act; or
  • Engaging in any lewd conduct in public that the person knows other people will see and be affronted or alarmed by

Public lewdness is a Class C misdemeanor. Referring back to the case involving the Alabama man who allegedly exposed himself in a store, if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he violated either subsection of the public lewdness statute, he could be jailed for up to 3 months. Additionally, the judge hearing his case could impose a fine of up to $500.

Is Public Lewdness the Same as Indecent Exposure?

Although public lewdness and indecent exposure both involve exposing the genitals, they are separate offenses. What distinguishes the two is the intent behind the actions.

A person violates the public lewdness law if their actions offend or alarm others. While this is also true for indecent exposure, the additional element of this offense is that the person acted with the intent to arouse or gratify their own or someone else’s sexual desires.

Additionally, a person can be charged with indecent exposure if they are in a public place or on someone else’s private property or near enough to that property that their actions can be observed.

Because indecent exposure involves gratifying sexual desires, it is considered a more serious offense than public lewdness. For a first or second offense, it is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries with it up to 1 year in jail and up to $6,000 in fines.

If a person is accused of committing a third or subsequent indecent exposure violation, they face a Class C felony charge. Being found guilty could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

For Aggressive Criminal Defense, Contact Tidwell Law Group, LLC

If you’re facing a criminal charge for a misdemeanor or felony in Birmingham, our attorney is ready to provide the fierce legal advocacy you need to challenge the accusations. Backed by 15 years of experience, we know how to build effective defense strategies to work toward a favorable outcome in your case.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (205) 800-8596 or contacting us online.

In many situations, when you hear that a person has been criminally charged after a shopping trip, the offense they are alleged to have committed involves a property crime such as theft. However, a quick trip to a store could also result in a public lewdness charge. Such happened when an Alabama man exposed himself inside of a grocery store late one November afternoon.

What Is Public Lewdness?

According to Alabama Code § 13A-12-130, a person commits the offense of public lewdness if they show their private parts in public where other people can see them.

The law defines the following behaviors as acts of public lewdness:

  • Exposing the anus or genitals in a public area in a way that is reckless and would cause other people to be offended or alarmed by the act; or
  • Engaging in any lewd conduct in public that the person knows other people will see and be affronted or alarmed by

Public lewdness is a Class C misdemeanor. Referring back to the case involving the Alabama man who allegedly exposed himself in a store, if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he violated either subsection of the public lewdness statute, he could be jailed for up to 3 months. Additionally, the judge hearing his case could impose a fine of up to $500.

Is Public Lewdness the Same as Indecent Exposure?

Although public lewdness and indecent exposure both involve exposing the genitals, they are separate offenses. What distinguishes the two is the intent behind the actions.

A person violates the public lewdness law if their actions offend or alarm others. While this is also true for indecent exposure, the additional element of this offense is that the person acted with the intent to arouse or gratify their own or someone else’s sexual desires.

Additionally, a person can be charged with indecent exposure if they are in a public place or on someone else’s private property or near enough to that property that their actions can be observed.

Because indecent exposure involves gratifying sexual desires, it is considered a more serious offense than public lewdness. For a first or second offense, it is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries with it up to 1 year in jail and up to $6,000 in fines.

If a person is accused of committing a third or subsequent indecent exposure violation, they face a Class C felony charge. Being found guilty could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

For Aggressive Criminal Defense, Contact Tidwell Law Group, LLC

If you’re facing a criminal charge for a misdemeanor or felony in Birmingham, our attorney is ready to provide the fierce legal advocacy you need to challenge the accusations. Backed by 15 years of experience, we know how to build effective defense strategies to work toward a favorable outcome in your case.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (205) 800-8596 or contacting us online.

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