Port Authority 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 the Port Authority Bus Terminal 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”. lewdness exposure defense lawyer nyc

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 who are caught using the restrooms of Port Authority for lewd acts.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) is the largest bus terminal in the United States and serves about 8,000 buses and 225,000 people on an average weekday. Port Authority recently unveiled two renovated restrooms but given the volume of riders at the Port Authority these bathrooms are often overly crowded which can lead to a police officer making a mistake about what you're doing. The men’s bathrooms in Port Authority are occasionally patrolled by undercover officers looking for any indications of lewd conduct or improper exposure.

Lewdness and Exposure Under New York Law

Public lewdness. You're guilty of public lewdness in Port Authority 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 (§ 245.00)

  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Permanent criminal 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. What if you're just shaking it off after urinating?
  • 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 Port Authority happens because a police officer believes you were exposing your penis for sexual reasons.

Misunderstanding.

The police are only supposed to arrest you for lewd behavior, not for going to the bathroom. Because of the poor lighting, cramped spaces, and constant commotion of Port Authority Bus Terminal, even an experienced undercover police 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 Port Authority 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.

Steps to Take After Arrest

  • Remember that you're presumed innocent
  • Don't speak to anyone about it until you've talked to a lawyer
  • Don't attempt to find the arresting officer later and "work it out"
  • contact us 212-619-3900 for a free and confidential case evaluation.
  • Don't go to court alone because conviction is usually permanent
  • Conviction can lead to a criminal record which can cause employment, immigration, travel, and other consequences.
  • Lance Fletcher, a former 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. Lance Fletcher has avoided conviction in many situations involving lewdness charges in the Port Authority.

Some of our Public Lewdness Case Results (Port Authority)

Port Authority - Client arrested for masturbating in a urinal - Client had a governmental job and was concerned about losing it if convicted. Result: Case dismissed, no criminal record, arrest record sealed. Client later reported that because of the dismissal, client was not fired.

Port Authority - Client and another person were arrested in a Port Authority bathroom - Client was worried that the other person would tell the judge that Client exposed Client's intimate areas - Other person had investigator harass Client - Result: We were able to stop the harassment, Case eventually dismissed. No criminal record, arrest photograph and fingerprints sealed.

Port Authority - Client arrested for exposing self to undercover police officer - Client was given a desk appearance ticket charging exposure 245.01 and was charged with lewdness 245.00 in court. Client was a working professional and was concerned about losing employment. Result: Criminal charges dropped, case reduced to non-criminal violation, small fine. We were able to provide client with written confirmation that Client's arrest photograph and fingerprint record were destroyed as a result of the deal we reached in court.

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