Is Car Sex Illegal?

Last Modified: April 11, 2023
April 11, 2023 | Rabin Nabizadeh | Sex Crimes

Is car sex illegalWhile there are plenty of people who have stories about having sex in a car, there are some people who are wondering, is car sex illegal? The answer is that it depends on the situation. For example, if you are having sex in your car in a garage, that will be different than if you are having sex in the car and it is located in the middle of the parking lot of a grocery store.

Your lawyers can provide you with the defense you need. Learn more about the legal implications of having sex in your car, and call to schedule your free case consultation. They can provide a strong defense if you have been charged with a sex crime.

Is Having Sex in a Car Against the Law?

You are allowed to have sex in your car, but you must also understand the laws that apply to your situation. Generally, it is illegal to have sex in public if a reasonable person believes that someone will see them. Therefore, if you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and you decide to have sex in your car, you could be brought up on criminal charges.

On the other hand, if you are having sex in your car, and a reasonable person believes they are in private, you will unlikely be charged or convicted. To figure out what is considered public and private, it is critical to take a closer look at some of the laws in CA that apply.

California Car Sex Laws

California car sex lawsA few laws could apply to someone’s situation if they are having sex in the car. The most important one is California Penal Code Section 647(a).



California Penal Code Section 647(a)

According to California Penal Code Section 647(a), it is illegal to engage in lewd or sexual conduct if you know, or you should know, that an individual who might be offended by that activity could be present.

For example, if you are engaging in lewd conduct for sexual gratification, and there is a reasonable belief that children might be present, you could be criminally charged under this statute. Therefore, before engaging in sexual activity, you need to consider who might be present and whether they might be offended by sexual intercourse.

Is It Illegal To Have Sex in Public?

Is it illegal to have sex in publicIt is illegal to have sex in public if there is a reasonable belief that someone might see you and be offended by your activities. Some of the descriptions that could apply to these activities include:



Indecent Exposure or Public Indecency

Indecent exposure or public indecency involves exposure of your genitals or anus to somebody else. Generally, a prosecutor must prove that you intend to become aroused or gratify yourself by exposing your genitals or anus to the public.

If someone can prove that you exposed your genitals or anus in front of someone who might be offended by it, you could get convicted under this charge.

Public Lewdness

Public lewdness takes this action a step further. If you get charged with public lewdness, the prosecutor would have to prove that you had exposed yourself and touched yourself, or someone else, sexually in public.

This charge falls under the category of engaging in a sexual act in public, which could be more serious than those associated with indecent exposure.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is another misdemeanor that someone could be charged with if they get caught engaging in sexual activity in public. It is important to note that you can be accused of this orderly conduct even if you are not engaging in sexual activity. For example, panhandling can also be categorized as disorderly conduct.

What Is Considered a Public Place?

What is considered a public placeSo, it is generally illegal to have sex in public, so what is considered a public place? It is generally considered a public place if you cannot reasonably expect privacy.

For example, suppose you have sex in a park, a parking lot, or public toilets. In that case, it is probably considered a public place because there is a high likelihood that someone else is there or would arrive during your activities.

When Is It Legal To Have Sex in a Car in California?

Generally, it is legal to have sex in your car if you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, if the vehicle is parked on your private property, you would have a reasonable argument for privacy. Perhaps the car is parked in your garage, and nobody else is present in your garage at the time.

On the other hand, if you are having sex in your car in the middle of a parking lot during the day, there is a high likelihood that someone else will arrive in the parking lot and see you. Therefore, this action will probably be considered illegal because you are in public.

Can I Be Charged With a Felony for Having Sex in My Car?

Can i be charged with a felony for having sex in a carEven though it depends on the exact nature of the activity, the charges listed above are all considered misdemeanors. Indecent exposure, public lewdness, and disorderly conduct are all generally charged as misdemeanors. While every case is different, it is doubtful for someone having sex in a car to be charged with a felony.

The nature of the charges will also depend on your previous criminal record. For example, if you get charged with indecent exposure but have been convicted of indecent exposure, the charge could be elevated to a felony.

What Are the Penalties if I Get Caught Having Sex in the Car?

The penalties for the crimes listed above can vary significantly from case to case. It depends on what you are charged.

For example, if convicted of indecent exposure, you could be fined up to $1,000 and forced to spend a year in jail. Depending on the nature of the charge and conviction, you may also be required to register as a sex offender.

What Are My Legal Options if I Am Arrested for Having Sex in a Car in California?

What are my legal optionsIf you get arrested for having sex in your car in California, there are several defenses that your attorney may employ. Some of the defenses that could work in your favor include the following:



Not a Public Place

One of the most common defenses that a defense attorney might employ is the statement that you were not in a public place when you were charged.

For example, if your defense attorney can show that you were having sex in your car while on your property, your attorney could claim that your property is private. As a result, it might not be a public place.

Every situation is different, and your attorney will customize your defense to match the facts of the case.

Vagueness or Overbreadth Challenges

Your criminal defense attorney might also use a vagueness or overbreadth challenge to defend you against your charges. In this case, no law in California explicitly prevents sex in a car. Therefore, by charging your specific case under public lewdness or indecent exposure, the prosecutor may not be explicitly defining what you have done that falls under the category of that specific law.

The success of this defense will vary depending on the exact nature of your charges and the facts of your case, and that is why it is always better to reach out to a lawyer for a case consultation sooner rather than later.

That is where our team can help you.

Secure Legal Representation From Our California Sex Crimes Lawyer Today

Secure legal representation from our sex crimes lawyerAt Summit Defense, we can provide you with a California sex crimes attorney who can provide you with the strong defense you deserve. If you have a criminal case before the justice system, the stakes are high, and you must employ the strongest defense possible.

We have significant experience representing clients of all backgrounds and can help you as well.

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation, and let us help you.

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