New Jersey Indecent Exposure Laws

In New Jersey, indecent exposure is also known as "lewd conduct." There are three general ways a person can be guilty of lewd conduct and they don’t all carry the same charges or penalties.

A person is guilty of lewd conduct if he commits any of the following three actions.

  • Disorderly Person Offense: Masturbating, exposing penis or genitals in a place which you know or reasonably should know that a non-consenting person will see your action and be offended;
  • Doing these actions in front a a child under age of 13-years-old;
  • Doing these actions in front of a mentally disabled person.

The following table highlights the main provisions of the New Jersey's indecent exposure laws.

See Sexual Assault, Sex Crimes, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses for more information.

 

Code Section

Lewdness: N.J.S.A.2C:14-4 (PDF)

What is Prohibited

Disorderly Person's Offense:

1) Any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other non-consenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed;

2) Exposes his genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he 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;

3) Exposes his genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he 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.

Penalties
  • Disorderly Person Conviction: Jail for up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • If a minor or mentally disabled person is involved: Up to 18 months and require you to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
  • If a motor vehicle was involved in the crime, possible license suspension for up to two (2) years.
  • If the offender holds public office, a conviction could result in the forfeiture of his/her position position.


City, Township, and Campus Ordinances

In addition to a state wide pan on public indecency, there are also local ordinances that citizens must abide by. Check your local city, township, or campus rules for more information.

Because New Jersey indecency laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.