An overview of indecent exposure laws

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2016 | Sex Crimes

Most states have some version of an indecent exposure law. At its most basic, you violate the indecent exposure laws when you display your genitals in public. Moreover, the nature of that display and where you do can also go to the severity of the charge and punishment.

Indecent exposure is essentially composed of three elements. First, that genitals were displayed in public, that the display was intended or did cause distress in others. Finally, that there was a sexual purposes. That purposes could be for the displayers on gratification or an ill-conceived attempt to invite a sexual response.

To be convicted, you must flash genitals. That means that women exposing their breasts are not subject to indecent exposure laws. Additionally, people who flash their underwear, no matter how disturbing or small they may be, is not indecent exposure. One must expose one’s genitals to face these charges.

It is a common myth that urinating in public might land you with an indecent exposure charge. Technically that is possible, your genitals were displayed in public, however you could make a strong argument that it was not for a sexual purpose. Additionally, if you were urinating behind a large tree or in an alley, you could further argue that you were trying to avoid a public display and therefore you were not trying to alarm anyone around you. In short, it is possible but there are some strong arguments.

If you were arrested for indecent exposure, the primary hurdle the prosecutor faces is proving that you did it with sexual intent. You may want to speak to an attorney to go over your recollection of the events to determine what happened when. Once you have a clear narrative, you can begin preparing a defense that counters the prosecutor’s portrayal of you. A defense attorney is a useful person to have in your corner, especially when you are confronting indecent exposure charges. These may seem trivial however they can have long-lasting consequences throughout your life.

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