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Can You Get Arrested for Public Sex in Las Vegas? Nevada Laws Explained

Public sexual activity in Las Vegas is illegal. Engaging in such acts can result in charges of public indecency or lewdness, which carry significant legal penalties. It is important to conduct intimate activities in private settings to avoid legal consequences.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Understanding Indecent or Obscene Exposure in Nevada

According to B&A, the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 201.220) define indecent or obscene exposure as any open and indecent or obscene display of one’s own person or another’s [1].

You might be wondering what body parts, if exposed, are considered indecent or obscene? People criminally charged with this crime in Southern Nevada are typically caught exposing their genitalia, or in a woman’s case, their breasts. The only exception to this crime is when a woman exposes her breast to feed her child

This definition is quite broad, encompassing various scenarios. For instance, a couple engaging in sexual activity in a Henderson park or a bathroom stall in a Las Vegas casino can be charged with indecent or obscene exposure, regardless of whether they are under a blanket, in a car, or behind a bathroom door. The crime stands even if no one witnesses the act.

Shockingly, individuals can also be arrested for exposure in their own homes. For example, if someone in North Las Vegas is seen naked or with exposed private parts by a UPS delivery person through their front door or windows, they could face charges for indecent or obscene exposure.

According to SCLG, people can be charged with open or gross lewdness in Las Vegas even if no one directly witnessed the sexual activity [2]. If the act occurs in a location where the public could potentially see it, such as behind an open window or on a park bench at night, the individuals involved can face prosecution.

Common defenses against open or gross lewdness charges include:

  • The defendant was entrapped.
  • The defendant was falsely accused.
  • The location of the sexual activity was not reasonably visible to the public.

A first-time conviction is a gross misdemeanor, resulting in:

A second or subsequent conviction is a category D felony, with penalties of:

  • 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison.
  • Fines up to $5,000.
  • Mandatory sex offender registration.

If the activity occurred in the presence of a minor under 18 or a disabled person, a first-time conviction is a category D felony, carrying:

  • 1 to 4 years in prison.
  • Fines up to $5,000.
  • Mandatory sex offender registration.

According to FindLaw, in criminal cases, the state must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction [3]. Many defenses in indecent exposure cases focus on challenging the evidence for one or more elements of the crime. Some common legal defenses include:

  • Alibi or Mistaken Identification: Demonstrating that the defendant was not at the crime scene or that there is doubt about the offender’s identification.
  • Lack of Public Exposure: Arguing that the alleged conduct did not occur in a public setting or in the presence of another person.
  • No Exposure of Genitalia: Asserting that the defendant remained clothed and did not expose their genitalia.
  • Absence of Lewd Intent: Proving that there was no intent for sexual gratification, arousal, or to offend.
  • False Accusation: Questioning the motive of the alleged victim and attacking the credibility of their accusation.

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