Is Having Sex in a Car Against the Law?

While there is no law that explicitly states that having sex in a car is illegal, there are still ways in which a person might receive criminal charges. For example, there are laws applicable to this situation that prohibit public lewdness. So while car sex is not technically against the law, if you get caught engaging in sexual activity in a car parked in a public place, you might still find yourself in legal trouble.

Just the thought of receiving sex crime charges is a terrifying thing, let alone the reality of it. However, you are not in this alone. Whether you are simply wondering “Is having sex in a car against the law?” or if you’ve received a sex crime charge in Colorado, WeedenLaw can help. Experienced criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden has been fighting for the rights of the accused for years. He understands what it takes to protect your rights and make sure you receive fair treatment and the best chance at a positive outcome. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact WeedenLaw today by calling (720) 307-4330 or by visiting our website. 

Is it Illegal to Have Sex in a Car in Colorado?

The vast majority of people out there have at least some understanding of what constitutes a sex crime. For example, they are probably well aware that it is illegal to physically force a person to have sex with them. (See our blog: What is Aggravated Sexual Assault?) Or that there are strict laws prohibiting adults from engaging in sexual activity with minors. Or that child pornography charges in Colorado (and everywhere, for that matter) get prosecuted with the utmost aggression. These are what most people automatically categorize as sex crimes. 

What many people do not consider, however, is that having consensual sex in a car might land them in jail. In fact, there is no jurisdiction in all of the United States that has a law specifically stating that having sex in a car is a criminal offense. So how can you receive charges for something that is not technically a crime? How is having sex in a car against the law?

The answer comes down to whether or not the act occurred in a public setting. While the car itself may be private property, its location is not always going to be. For example, say you park your car in a grocery store parking lot. If you and another person were to engage in sexual activity while parked in this public setting and someone catches you, you may end up receiving charges. This is because Colorado courts—as well as many other jurisdictions—possess laws prohibiting public indecency and indecent exposure

Can You Get Arrested for Having Sex in Your Car?

Depending on what state you live in, you may hear it called several different things: public lewdness, lewd conduct in public, disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, or public indecency. Whatever you may call it, the act of public nudity and indecently exposing oneself in a sexual manner to alarm or offend others is a criminal offense.

In Colorado, our laws refer to these offenses specifically as either “indecent exposure” or “public indecency.” You can find the laws prohibiting these acts in Colorado’s Revised Statutes, Section 18-7-301 (public indecency) and Section 18-7-302 (indecent exposure). 

According to the statute, public indecency occurs when a person does any of the following in a public place and in view of others:

  • Has sexual intercourse;
  • Exposes any intimate body part EXCEPT for the genitals in a lewd manner with the likely intent to arouse or satisfy another’s sexual desire;
    • Intimate body parts could include the anus, pubic area, breasts, or perineum.
  • Lewdly fondles or caresses another’s body; 
  • Intentionally exposes the genitals in a way to alarm or offend another person.

Also according to the statute, indecent exposure occurs when a person commits the following offenses:

  • Intentionally exposes the genitals in view of other people with the likely intent to arouse or satisfy another’s sexual desire; or
  • Masturbates in view of other people with the likely intent to alarm or offend them.
    • Masturbation refers to the real or simulated touching and/or rubbing of one’s own genitals for means of sexual gratification, whether covered or exposed.

Based on these laws, having sex in a car may constitute a public indecency or indecent exposure charge. That is, of course, if the car is in public and another person or people witness the act. 

If You Get Caught Having Sex in Public Are You a Sex Offender?

A public indecency charge is generally considered a Class 1 Petty Offense in Colorado. These offenses are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $500. If the act occurred following a previous incident related to genital exposure, however, the offense may upgrade to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. 

On the other hand, an indecent exposure charge is automatically a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor charge warrants up to 18 months imprisonment and $5,000 in fines. If the offender has two prior convictions, however, the charge upgrades to a Class 6 Felony charge. This makes the offense punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, $100,000 in fines, and mandatory parole of one year. (See Denver Sex Crimes: How to Know if They’re a Felony or Misdemeanor?)

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, there is the possibility that you will need to register as a sex offender following both of these convictions. With a public indecency charge, this is not always required. Again, it simply depends on your individual case. For indecent exposure, however, you will need to publicly register as a sex offender. 

With that said, depending on the type of charge you receive, you may become a sex offender if you get caught having sex in public. 

What Are Some Legal Defenses to a Lewd Conduct Charge?

There are legal defense strategies that can help you beat Colorado sex charges such as public indecency or indecent exposure. Some common defenses include proving that the car was not in a public place or that the accused was not actually having sex within the car. Another defense includes showing the court that the defendant was falsely accused of the act. 

When it comes to sex crimes, it is important to fight back against the charges with a smart, aggressive defense strategy. It is up to you and your Denver criminal defense attorney to raise as many doubts as possible about any arguments the prosecution may make. 

Contact Denver Sex Crimes Attorney Jeff Weeden Today

There are many people who are simply not aware that having sex in a car may lead to criminal charges. Unfortunately, saying you “didn’t know” in a court of law isn’t going to get you out of your dilemma. Instead, you need an experienced Denver sex crimes attorney such as Jeff Weeden of WeedenLaw. When you work with Weeden, you get a focused, caring defense lawyer who will aggressively defend your case.

At WeedenLaw, we want to give you a voice and a say in your future, so we welcome any questions or concerns clients have and pride ourselves on our availability. In terms of getting results, our goal is to work with you to develop an aggressive defense strategy for your specific charges. If you have any more questions like Is having sex in a car against the law? or would like to set up a FREE consultation with WeedenLaw, give us a call at (720) 307-4330 today.

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