From Penalties to Qualifiers: Answering 7 Common Questions About Indecent Exposure


Most of us have a reasonable idea of what indecent exposure means and if you are accused of exposing your private parts in public it could have serious consequences if the charge results in a successful prosecution.

If this is something you didn’t deliberately intend to do, the last thing you want is your life to take a ruinous turn by finding yourself registered as a sex offender. The good news is that if you employ the services of a sex crime lawyer they will have a good understanding of what is needed to clear your name and move on from the incident.

Here is a look at some of the key points to bear in mind about indecent exposure.

A classic example of indecent exposure

One of the most obvious examples of indecent exposure would be when you willfully take the action of exposing your genitals in a public space to another person, usually for the purpose of sexual gratification.

A fundamental point to remember is that for a charge of indecent exposure to stick in court it has to be proved that you fully intended to expose yourself.

An example of accidental exposure would be some sort of “wardrobe malfunction” where you accidentally expose a private part of your body before taking action to cover it up again.

The charge could be misdemeanor or felony

It is always a sensible strategy to appoint a lawyer who understands sex crime laws in your state so that a defense can be put together based on the circumstances of the case.

If you are actually convicted of indecent exposure you will probably be charged with a misdemeanor if it is your first offense. This would probably mean a fine, but you could also spend up to six months in jail.

A subsequent indecent exposure would most likely be charged as a felony.

What about the sex offenders register?

Regardless of whether you are successfully charged of indecent exposure and convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony you will have to register as a sex offender under either conviction.

Best line of defense

It is worth reiterating the key point about an indecent exposure charge that if you exposed yourself accidentally you did not commit an offense.

This is one of the commonest defenses put forward to a charge of indecent exposure.

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Mistaken identity

Another unfortunate scenario is when you are mistakenly identified as the perpetrator who exposed themselves in public.

A sex crime lawyer will seek to cast doubt on the charge if the indecent took place in darkness or where the victim was unable to properly see their attacker.

A lesser charge

There is always the potential option to downgrade the charge of indecent exposure to lewd conduct.

Your lawyer will be able to explain why this might be a viable option and why a plea reduction of this nature could make sense.

What is the difference?

A key difference between a lewd conduct charge and indecent exposure is the fact that you will manage to avoid being registered as a sex offender if you manage to reduce the charge to lewd conduct.

Being charged with indecent exposure could threaten your liberty, as well as your future, and that is why you should consider talking to a sex crime lawyer as soon as possible if you are being charged with this offense.

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