Let's be honest, many of us have 'fooled around' in a hotel on wheels aka a car. When I was in college, living in the dorms, I had some fun behind the wheel, if you know what I mean. But, is it illegal in New York State?

N.Y. Penal Law says,

[a] person is guilty of public lewdness when he intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act (a) in a public place, or (b) in private premises under circumstances in which he may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he be so observed.


Photo by Octavio Fossatti on Unsplash
Photo by Octavio Fossatti on Unsplash

But, that doesn't specify that having sex in a car is actually public lewdness. According to Car Proper,

In New York, it is not illegal to have sex in your car, even in a public place, as long as you remain hidden and not in the direct view of the passersby.


Pretty confusing right?

It kind of sounds like as long as no one can see you, especially a law enforcement officer, you may be ok in New York. Keep in mind that even if you are taking great pains to remain hidden, you may encounter a passerby who is nosey and calls the police. You could potentially be charged and have to fight it.

Public lewdness is a class B misdemeanor.

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

In 1991, a New York Court of Appeals actually ruled on whether sex in a parked car was public lewdness. The court rule 6 to 1 that cars are not public places, according to the L.A. Times,

Sex in a parked car is allowed as long as no one is likely to see you, New York state’s top court ruled. The Court of Appeals threw out charges of public lewdness against three women arrested in Buffalo in separate incidents in 1989.

Court of Appeals ruling aside, I suppose it really comes down to where you are parked (hopefully, you're not driving while getting it on) and the type of vehicle you're in. I can imagine that based on the ruling if you were parked in a secluded area in the backseat of a vehicle with tinted windows, you'd be covered. On the other hand, if you decide to bare it all in the back of a pickup truck at a drive-in theater, you'd probably have a big problem on your hands, even with the court's ruling.

The law regarding exposure of a person in New York says,

A person is guilty of exposure if he appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of his body are unclothed or exposed. For purposes of this section, the private or intimate parts of a female person shall include that portion of the breast which is below the top of the areola.

The bottom line is, you should be legally covered if you take care and make sure no one can see you. If you go rogue and make it super easy for people to see you, you might have some 'splaining to do in a court of law. It's like one of those 'choose you own adventure' books...pick wisely!

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