Penn Station Lewdness and Exposure Lawyer
In 2007, Senator Larry Craig (a Republican) was arrested in a Minneapolis
airport for looking to engage in gay sex. The arresting officer noticed
that he was tapping his foot up and down and swiped his hand underneath
the stall in which an undercover cop was sitting. These actions were recognized
by the police as a known signal to initiate a sexual encounter. Although
Craig initially denied any wrong doing, he later plead guilty. Public
places like men’s restrooms in transportation facilities like Penn
Station, Grand Central, the Port Authority, and in other public meeting
areas like Central Park, are known to the NYPD to be places where gay
and bisexual men congregate for an anonymous encounter. This is sometimes
referred to as “cruising”.
Police involvement. The NTPD generally investigates areas were members of the public have complained
about it being used for sex. From the District Attorney’s perspective,
the public has a right to enter public areas without fearing that they
will encounter a lewd sexual act. As a result, the Manhattan District
Attorney takes a tough position even for first time offenders.
New York Penn Station handles 600,000 rail passengers per day and is the
busiest commuter transportation facility in North America. Penn Station
only has six public bathrooms for these 600,000 passengers and as you
can imagine, these bathrooms are often in poor repair and are overly crowded.
The men’s bathrooms in Penn Station are occasionally patrolled by
undercover officers looking for any indications of lewd conduct or improper exposure.
Possible Penn Station Charges
§ 245.00 Public lewdness. You're guilty of public lewdness in Penn Station when you intentionally
expose your private parts in a
lewd manner or commit any other
lewd act.§P.L. 245.00 Public Lewdness (PDF)
Exposure. You're guilty of exposure of a person, § P.L. 245.01 if you appear
in public in a manner that your private or intimate parts are exposed.
Public Lewdness Penalties (§
- Up to 90 days in jail
- Permanent criminal record following conviction
- Permanent arrest photo and fingerprint record
- DNA database registration
- Employment and immigration consequences
You can be easily be accused.
If you go to the bathroom, you're committing most of the elements of
public lewdness, P.L. 245.00 and exposure, P.L. 245.01 because you have
to expose your private parts to urinate.
- The difference between properly going to the bathroom and being arrested
and charged with public lewdness comes down to whether you were exposing
your privates in a lewd manner.
- "Lewd" is obscene or indecent, tending to moral impurity or wantonness.
"Lewdness" is gross, wanton, and public indecency; a sexual act that the actor
knows will likely be observed by someone who will be affronted or alarmed
by it. (People v. Wade, NY County, 2016). A conviction was upheld where
the defendant was exposing and rubbing his penis in open view towards
another person in public. (People v. Topy, NY County 2002).
Often, an arrest for public lewdness in Penn Station happens because a
police officer believes you were exposing your penis for sexual reasons
but what if you were just using the bathroom?
Misunderstanding. The police are supposed to only arrest you for lewd behavior, not for
simply going to the bathroom in Penn Station while on your way home. Because
of Penn Station's poor lighting, small spaces, and constant commotion
(of over 600,000 people per day) even a trained officer can make an honest
mistake. The consequences of this mistake can be severe, not only because
of the immediate embarrassment of being arrested in a public bathroom,
but also the future court date where you will be formally accused in open
court. Any conviction can lead to a permanent criminal record and worse.
Your Best Strategy
Take this step by step. We often see clients who are so embarrassed that they don't reach
out to an attorney until it's too late. The NYPD and Manhattan District
Attorney take a tough position on lewdness and exposure cases. They expect
that you'll be so embarrassed, simply because you were accused, that
you won't fight back. Fighting back is your best option. If you did
something that you regret or if you have been falsely accused, it is natural
to feel embarrassed but don't give up. A conviction can lead to consequences
beyond what happens in criminal court. So,
contact us as soon as possible. Often, we can identify winning defenses hidden in
the facts of your case. We have successfully defended many clients who
provided full written confessions.
How Lance Fletcher can help. If you have been arrested public lewdness
and/or exposure in New York Penn Station,
212-619-3900 for a free and confidential case evaluation. Although any accusation of
this type is embarrassing, don't go to court alone. Conviction can
lead to a permanent criminal record which can cause employment, immigration,
travel, and other consequences.
Lance Fletcher, aformer Manhattan prosecutor, will analyze the unique facts and circumstances of your arrest, any statement
you made to the police, and possible defense that you may not have realized.
Some of our Public Lewdness Case Results (Penn Station)
Penn Station - Client allegedly masturbating in a urinal witnessed by undercover. Client
had professional license and applying for citizenship. Client was arrested
and given a desk appearance ticket charging Exposure (245.01) and later
Lewdness (245.00) was charged in court
Result: No criminal conviction, no criminal record, small fine. No immigration
Penn Station - Client allegedly exposed self to undercover police officer. Gave full
written confession. Client was married with children and feared any public
trial would destroy client's marriage.
Result: Case eventually dismissed, no criminal record and case resolved with
no trial and no public hearings regarding the alleged facts. Basically,
everything was kept as quiet as possible.
Penn Station - Client was arrested after using urinal. Client provide full written confession
that client was cursing and looking for sexual encounter.
Result: Exposure and Lewdness charges dropped and case reduced to non-criminal
violation, no criminal record, small fine. Record sealed. We provided
client with written confirmation that client's arrest photograph and
fingerprints were destroyed as part of the outcome.
212-619-3900 for a free and confidential case evaluation.