Open and Gross Lewdness in Las Vegas: What Tourists & Visitors Need to Know

If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, you need to be aware of laws that are actively enforced and can get tourists in serious trouble.

One of those laws is Nevada’s open and gross lewdness statute, which has severe penalties and repercussions. You should understand the law and know the potential consequences to ensure that you do not overstep the law, especially if you plan to enjoy the lively nightlife and party atmosphere of Las Vegas.

What Constitutes Open and Gross Lewdness?

Nevada has a specific statute that makes it a crime for a person to commit “any act of open or gross lewdness.” The law is construed very broadly. It includes:

  • Any intentional sexual act done in public
  • Any sexual act in private when others can view the act (even if others were not intended to view it)
  • Non-consensual sexual acts that fall short of sexual assault (rape)

While most people realize that having sex in public or in view of other people could result in criminal charges, it is the last type of conduct listed above that sometimes gets Las Vegas visitors in trouble: Non-consensual, unwelcomed sexual touching or fondling of another person — especially a stranger — in a nightclub or at a pool party can end with a charge of open and gross lewdness. Since undercover law enforcement officers frequently are present at Las Vegas nightlife scenes, it is important for visitors to understand that some types of conduct can quickly turn what they think is "fun" into a serious legal problem.

Open and gross lewdness is often charged in conjunction with the crime of indecent exposure, which is a separate Nevada law. Open and gross lewdness generally refers to sexual acts, while indecent exposure refers to showing private body parts in public, whether or not it is sexually motivated.

Penalties for Open and Gross Lewdness Are Severe

A first offense under the open and gross lewdness statute is a gross misdemeanor, which includes up to one (1) year in jail and a fine of up to two thousand dollars ($2,000). Because open and gross lewdness is a sexual crime under Nevada law, a conviction requires the violator to register as a sex offender — a severe consequence that can significantly impact your life even more than the other penalties and having a criminal conviction on your record.

Any subsequent offenses is a category D felony, punishable by one (1) to four (4) years in prison, a fine up to five thousand dollars ($5,000). Subsequent convictions also subject the person to lifetime sex offender supervision.

What To Do If You Face an Open and Gross Lewdness Charge in Las Vegas

Having an attorney represent you is imperative if you are charged with open and gross lewdness, given the significant penalties and severe consequences. Trusted Las Vegas criminal defense Joseph Gersten has the experience and knowledge to help you.

Attorney Gersten has extensive investigative background working for the United States Secret Service, Intelligence Division, as well as the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. He will use his analytical and investigative skills to evaluate all the facts and circumstances of your case. If there are defenses to assert, Attorney Gersten will vigorously pursue them. When necessary and appropriate, he will draw on his substantial litigation experience in negotiating with prosecutors and litigating fiercely on your behalf. If you're facing an open and gross lewdness charge in Las Vegas, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.

Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten has extensive experience defending Las Vegas visitors and residents facing federal and state criminal charges. If you’ve been arrested in Las Vegas or anywhere else in Clark County, contact Attorney Gersten to schedule a free consultation.