Lewd Law & Legal Definition


State laws on obscenity vary by state. Obscenity is highly subjective and is defined according to community standards. Lewdness is one of the crimes that falls under the category of obscenity. The words "obscene, lewd and lascivious" as used in the law, signify that form of immorality which has relation to sexual impurity and has a tendency to excite lustful thoughts. To be commit a criminally lewd act is generally defined as when a person:

  1. exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act; or
  2. does any lewd act in a public place which he knows is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed.

Obscene matter is defined as acts or printed matter, film, or photographs which:

  1. Applying contemporary local community standards, on the whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and
  2. Is patently offensive; and
  3. On the whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

It may be a crime to possess, sell, distribute, or produce obscene material. Local laws need to be consulted for the applicable law and standards in your area.