Last Wednesday, comedian Fred Willard was arrested for lewd conduct in Los Angeles, after he was caught masturbating at the Tiki Theater in Hollywood. Willard, who’s known for his roles in movies like Best in Show, This Is Spinal Tap, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, has agreed to participate in a pre-filing diversion program (cost of about $380) to clear the charges.
The arrest came as a shock to the 72-year-old actor’s fans. Many in the media have been comparing his situation to what happened nearly 20 years ago to comedian, Paul Rubens (a.k.a “Pee-Wee” Herman), whose career was devastated after he was similarly caught masturbating in a movie theater.
Intriguingly, a Los Angeles prosecutor said that this was not Willard’s first encounter with a Los Angeles lewd conduct charge. Back in 1990, the actor was arrested for similar charges, although prosecutors did not report details to the media.
What can Willard’s arrest teach you, if you have similarly been hit with a sex crime charge in Los Angeles or crime of lewd conduct?
Willard’s ordeal demonstrates that even minor charges – or blatantly unfair and untrue charges – can radically alter how you’re perceived not only by the general public but also by peers, friends, and close family members.
The arrest can jolt your life in many unpredictable ways.
And the ramifications of a bad defense could be extreme.
If you’re convicted of a sex crime, you could be compelled to have the “sex offender” label attached to you, legally speaking, for the rest of your life. That scarlet letter will have obvious implications for your professional opportunities, where you might be able to live, your future relationships, etc.
A well prepared and experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, like former prosecutor Michael Kraut, may be able to help you either get your charges dismissed or pled down.
Obviously, every case is different, so there is no way to tell in advance what your options might be. But the sooner you can find appropriate legal help, the better. The actions you take (or fail to take) in the wake of your arrest and charges can prove decisive. They can have ramifications that can reverberate for years or even for the rest of your life. Make smart and strategic choices now to challenge your charges and rebuild your life.