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Las Vegas Open and Gross Lewdness Attorney

Last Modified: March 18, 2024

Open & Gross Lewdness Charges in Las Vegas

No one wants to be labeled as a sexual deviant, but unfortunately, this is the social stigma that comes with being convicted of open and gross lewdness in Las Vegas. Open and gross lewdness, according to Nevada Revised Statute 201.210, is an act of exposing oneself sexually or engaging in sexual activity where it would reasonably offend another person. This serious sex crime charge has major legal consequences, which is why you need to hire an experienced Las Vegas open and gross lewdness attorney if you find yourself facing these charges. The Spartacus Law Firm routinely represents these types of sex crimes and has the experience and legal resources you need to win your case. Contact our office today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

Understand Nevada’s Indecent Exposure Statute

In most states, there are indecent exposure statutes that say which body parts can’t be shown in public. For example, exposing genitals, breasts, buttocks, and other sex organs would violate the statute in other jurisdictions. Even though Nevada’s criminal offense applies to anyone who intentionally exposes his genitals on a public street corner – like many rather serious offenses – the charge could also apply to less important actions since the statute does not list what parts of the body can’t be exposed publicly.

Additionally, under NRS 201.210, the prosecution is not required to demonstrate that the accused expressed an intention to offend anyone or that a third party witnessed the act of open lewdness. The only thing needed is evidence that the person intended to make their exposure public. There have been various accounts of entrapment – particularly involving gay men in public restrooms who have faced charges of open and gross lewdness – even when there was no one else present in the restroom besides an undercover police officer.

What Is Open & Gross Lewdness?

In Nevada, the crime of Gross Lewdness is described in NRS 201.210. Its definition may be interpreted widely, but specifically, open and gross lewdness charges in Nevada are defined as either of the following two situations, deliberately performing sexual acts or sexual touch in public. The Nevada Supreme Court has found open and gross lewdness to consist of:

  • Acts that were sexual in nature, public, and observed by others
  • Open acts committed in a private place that was clearly intended to be offensive to the victim
  • All that is required to be charged with open lewdness is intentionality on the part of the accused when committing public sexual conduct or exposure.
  • Gross limits the breadth and degree of lewdness to glaringly noticeable or obviously objectionable
  • Lewdness is a matter of common knowledge that the average citizen can determine what conduct is proscribed, such as sexual, obscene, indecent, preoccupied with sex or sexual desire, and wicked conduct

The crime of “open or gross lewdness,” as set forth in NRS 201.210, has not been defined by the Legislature. It is generally accepted, however, that when a legislature uses the term “open” to modify the term “lewdness,” as the Legislature has done, it intends to broaden the common law definition to include acts which are committed in a private place, but which are nevertheless committed in an “open” as opposed to a “secret” manner. 

While at common law it was necessary to prove that the offense of “lewdness” was committed in a public place, under this section it was sufficient that defendant committed lewd acts in an “open” fashion, clearly intending that his acts be offensive to his victim.  Ranson v. State, 99 Nev. 766, 670 P.2d 574, 1983 Nev. LEXIS 535 (Nev. 1983).

Penalties Of Open or Gross Lewdness In Nevada

In Nevada, a gross misdemeanor is a serious offense, although it is less egregious than a felony conviction. The punishment for the crime ranges from one year in jail to $2,000 in fines. If you are charged with gross misdemeanors in Nevada, you are entitled to a jury trial. Gross misdemeanor offenses include:

  • The first conviction of open or gross lewdness
  • The first conviction of indecent exposure
  • A second conviction of stalking
  • False imprisonment
  • Unlawfully using a hotel key

When facing open and gross lewdness charges in Nevada, you have the opportunity for a jury or bench trial. Gross misdemeanor penalties are as follows:

  • One year in jail
  • $2,000 in fines

If your felony conviction has been sealed after more than two years, you may be eligible to have it erased. The following are the penalties that you could face if convicted of open or gross lewdness as a first-time offender. You will be labeled a gross misdemeanor convict if you are charged as a first-time offender, and you are likely to face one of the following:

  • Possible registration as a sex offender
  • Jail term of 1 year
  • Payment of fines up to $2,000

If you are convicted of lewdness a second time, you will be charged with open and gross lewdness as a category D felony. This happens if you have previous sex crime convictions or if there was a minor or a mentally or physically incapacitated adult when the lewdness occurred. You will face the following penalties:

  • Possible registration as a sex offender
  • Imprisonment for up to 4 years in the State Prison
  • Payment of fines up to $5,000
  • Possible registration as a sex offender

If you are charged with a crime involving someone under the age of 14, you will be labeled a Class A felony convict, which implies that you are expected to face the following:

  • Life imprisonment
  • Payment of fines not exceeding $10,000

What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Open And Gross Lewdness

Per NRS 171.085, the statute of limitations for most felonies is three (3) years. For sexual assault the statute of limitations is 20 years.  Per NRS 171.090(1), the statute of limitations for gross misdemeanor offenses (open and gross lewdness) is two (2) years. However, under NRS 171.095 the statutes of limitation, as noted in NRS 171.085 and 171.090, are tolled for crimes committed in a secret manner or for crimes constituting child sexual abuse as defined in NRS 432B. 100.  Consult with an experienced Las Vegas sex crimes attorney to see if your case is barred by the statute of limitations.

Sexual Assault, Sexual Abuse Of Children

To support multiple charges of sexual abuse over a period of time, a child victim need not specify exact numbers of incidents, but there must be some reliable indicia that the number of acts charged actually occurred.   Rose v. State, 123 Nev. 194, 203, 163 P.3d 408, 414 (2007) (quoting LaPierre v. State, 108 Nev. 528, 531, 836 P.2d 56, 58 (1992)).  “[T]o support multiple charges of sexual abuse over a period of time, a child victim need not ‘specify exact numbers of incidents, but there must be some reliable indicia that the number of acts charged actually occurred.” Id.  To prove open or gross lewdness it is not necessary to prove that the act occurred in a public place or that the act was observed by others, “the fact that an act is committed openly is sufficient for the fact-finder to conclude that there was a likelihood that the act would be observed and that it would be offensive to observers.” Berry v. State, 125 Nev. 265, 280-81, 212 P.3d 1085, 1095-96 (2009).

Sex Crime Defense in Las Vegas, Nevada

There are a variety of defensive strategies that may be utilized if you are facing open or gross lewdness charges in Nevada. In Nevada, sex crimes against minors are extremely serious and carry harsh penalties if convicted. Luckily, an experienced Las Vegas open and gross lewdness attorney at the Spartacus Law Firm can assist you to evaluate all of your case’s variables to determine the best way forward. We have significant expertise in these sorts of cases and a track record of defending our clients successfully.

We understand how significant it is for a person to be accused of sexual offenses. The verdict in your case will have a long-term impact on your life, and we are dedicated to challenging these allegations in court until any guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Our seasoned criminal defense attorney can defend you with the level of representation you deserve. We will aggressively fight for the greatest possible result in order to preserve your freedom. Contact the Spartacus Law Firm today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

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Is Open & Gross Lewdness The Same As Indecent Exposure?

While these two crimes are often charged together, they are separate under Nevada law. Indecent Exposure is exposing private parts in public, whether it be for a sexual or nonsexual reason. For example, although a flasher may get enjoyment from running around naked, they aren’t typically sexually motivated while doing so. Although this person may still be arrested for Indecent Exposure, they may not necessarily be charged with Gross Lewdness. Gross Lewdness has more to do with conducting sexual acts in places where others may see them with or without intent to display private parts.

For example, urinating in a public place may be considered Indecent Exposure, but unless a sexual act was performed, Gross Lewdness will not be included. However, having sex with your partner in front of an open window, where members of the public can clearly see the act, could be charged as Open or Gross Lewdness in Nevada. There are many nuances when it comes to these types of sex crimes which is why it’s highly recommended that you speak with a Las Vegas open and gross lewdness attorney to determine how to best proceed with your defense.

Does Open & Gross Lewdness Require Sex Offender Registration?

Yes. If you are convicted of the crime of open or gross lewdness in Las Vegas, you must register as a sex offender. Below are the potential sex offender classifications you may face:

  • For gross misdemeanor convictions, you are classified as Tier 1 sex offenders. This is not searchable in a public database as long as the victim – if any – is an adult. And the registration period lasts for 15 years.
  • For felony convictions, you are generally classified as a Tier II or Tier III sex offender. You are publicly searchable. If you are a Tier II offender, you must register for 25 years. If you are a Tier III offender, you must register for life.  NRS 179D.495; also see Nev. Rev. Stat. 179D.450; see also NRS 179D.097.

Can The Statute (NRS 201.210) Be Challenged Because The Meaning Of Open And Gross Lewdness Is Vague?

In a case in which defendant was convicted, inter alia, on one count of open and gross lewdness, he argued unsuccessfully that NRS 201.210 was void for vagueness. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the term open was not vague, as used in § 201.210, gross sufficiently informed people what degree of lewdness was prohibited, and the terms lewd or lewdness had generally accepted meanings. Berry v. State, 125 Nev. 265, 212 P.3d 1085, 125 Nev. Adv. Rep. 26, 2009 Nev. LEXIS 34 (Nev. 2009).

Do You Have To Have An Intent To Offend To Be Convicted Of Open Or Gross Lewdness?

No.  Defendants’ acts of masturbation and oral copulation in a public restroom located at a public recreational facility were punishable without regard to whether the acts were observed by innocent visitors or whether defendants intended to offend anyone. Young v. State, 109 Nev. 205, 849 P.2d 336, 109 Nev. Adv. Rep. 27, 1993 Nev. LEXIS 35 (Nev. 1993).

A conviction under NRS 201.210 or NRS 201.220 does not require proof of intent to offend an observer or even that the exposure was observed. It is sufficient that the public sexual conduct or exposure was intentional. Young v. State, 109 Nev. 205, 849 P.2d 336, 109 Nev. Adv. Rep. 27, 1993 Nev. LEXIS 35 (Nev. 1993).

Can I Get The Record Of Conviction Sealed?

You may seal a gross misdemeanor conviction of NRS 201.210 two years after the criminal case closes, but you can never seal a felony conviction. It’s important to know that any open and gross lewdness charge in Nevada that gets dismissed may be sealed immediately. To learn more about sealing Nevada criminal records, visit our record sealing article.

If I Am Convicted Of Open & Gross Lewdness, Am I eligible For Probation?

In order to be eligible for probation for a conviction of Open and Gross Lewdness in violation of NRS 201.210, a psychosexual evaluation must be performed by a licensed clinician, and it must be determined that the defendant is not at a high risk to re-offend.  If a defendant fails the psychosexual evaluation he or she will not be eligible for a sentence of probation.

Can I Be Charged With Open And Gross Lewdness And Another Sexual Crime Such As Sexual Assault?

Yes.  Open and Gross Lewdness is not considered a lesser included offense of sexual assault.  This means that you can be convicted of both Sexual Assault and Open and Gross Lewdness stemming out of the same transaction or occurrence if the Open and Gross Lewdness act was separate from the Sexual Assault act.  

Is There An Exception For Breast Feeding In Public?

In 1995, the Nevada legislature added language to clarify that breastfeeding is not considered an act of open and indecent or obscene exposure. According to NRS 128.105: “For purposes of this section, the breastfeeding of a child by the mother does not constitute an act of open and indecent or obscene exposure of her body.”

What Are The Defenses To Open & Gross Lewdness?

There are a number of defenses to open or gross lewdness charges in Nevada that might assist you in avoiding an indecent exposure charge or getting rid of it entirely. These defenses include:

  • Entrapment: A police officer may not deceive someone into committing an offense of open or gross lewdness if the individual would not have committed it otherwise.
  • Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove a person guilty of open or gross lewdness, they will not be able to satisfy their burden of proof.
  • Consent: in the case of sexual touching, consent is a defense to a charge of open and gross lewdness.
  • False Accusations: False accusations can occur (especially in the arena of sex crimes).  A thorough investigation of the facts can yield that an alleged victim had a financial motive or a revenge motive and was using a false allegation of a sex crime to falsely accuse someone of a sex offense.  Evidence regarding the alleged victim’s credibility would be significant in this context, perhaps there is a financial motive such as an insurance policy that yield a financial motive, or the alleged victim has made baseless allegations of crimes in the past. 

Contact A Las Vegas Open & Gross Lewdness Attorney Today

If you have been accused of the severe sex crime offense of open and gross lewdness in Nevada, then you must contact an experienced Las Vegas open and gross lewdness attorney. Chandon Alexander has defended countless clients for related sex crime allegations in Clark County. If you are facing open and gross lewdness charges in Nevada, contact the Spartacus Law Firm today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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