CALL : 414-270-0202

Lewd and lascivious behavior defense attorneys: Meyer Van Severen, S.C.


Contact our top Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys for all criminal defense issues

Lewd and lascivious behavior is a Class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin.  That means that upon conviction you face up to 9 months in jail, a $10,000.00 fine, or both.  Because this crime is tangentially sexual, prosecutors frequently approach the allegations very seriously.

The sexual assault defense attorneys at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. frequently defense criminal charges dealing with lewd and lascivious allegations.  We believe that protecting your name, your record, and your life are crucial.  We want to win your case as much as you do.  For top-notice Milwaukee criminal defense, call us at (414) 270-0202.


free consultation client testimonials

What is lewd and lascivious behavior?

The crime is prohibited in section 944.20 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The law indicates:

  • (1) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:
    • (a) Commits an indecent act of sexual gratification with another with knowledge that they are in the presence of others; or
    • (b) Publicly and indecently exposes genitals or pubic area.
  • (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a mother’s breast-feeding of her child.

What are the elements of lewd and lascivious behavior?

All criminal offenses have elements,  or parts, that need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  This crime is no exception.  Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1544 provides the elements of the offense:

  1. The defendant exposed his genitals or pubic area; and
  2. The defendant exposed his genitals or pubic area publicly, that is, not in a hidden manner, but open to view; and
  3. The defendant exposed his genitals or pubic area indecently.

“Expose” means to exhibit to the view of another person or persons.  “Publicly” means in such a place or manner that the person knows or has reason to know that the conduct is observable by or in the presence of other persons.  “Indecently” requires that the defendant’s conduct offends the sense of decency of the community.  It does not include conduct that is generally tolerated by the community at large but that might disturb an overly sensitive person.


A man commits lewd and lascivious behavior
Lewd and lascivious behavior includes exposing your genitals in public. It’s a misdemeanor.

Breastfeeding of a child, while i public, is now lewd and lascivious behavior

This is explicitly provided in the statute.  Wisconsin Statutes section 944.20(2) indicates explicitly: breastfeeding of a child in public is not a crime under this statute.


If I’m convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior, do I need to report on the sex offender registry?

Thankfully individuals convicted of a violation of 944.20 do not need to register for the sex offender list.  Section 301.45 of the Wisconsin Statutes clarifies the included crimes.  “Sex offense” means a violation of many statutes, but 944.20 is not included.  Since lewd and lascivious conduct does not qualify under the sex offense definition, a conviction does not require reporting.


What if the lewd behavior involved a child?

Wisconsin does not have a law called lewd acts with a minor.  Instead, we have numerous crimes focused on sexual acts and children.  Certainly the defense attorneys at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. handle all of the following cases:

  • Child enticement: Causing a child to go into any vehicle, building, room, or secluded place if for certain purposes.  Of course, sexual purposes are included, and relevant to lewd/lascivious conduct.  Child enticement is a Class D felony.
  • Exposing genitals to a child: This crime is basically lewd and lascivious conduct, but focused on children.  Secondly, it’s a Class I felony unless certain mitigating circumstances apply.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Certainly a dedicated prosecutor could add additional charges based upon the specific situation.


Contact a top Milwaukee criminal defense attorney for representation.

Certainly having the best attorney in Wisconsin on your case will help obtain better results.  At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we focus on defending criminal cases.  We do not handle divorces.  Or business law.  Contracts.  Our defense attorneys focus solely on defending cases just like yours.

By all means, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202.  Lewd and lascivious cases are serious.  Don’t chance the rest of your life to inferior representation.