Indecent Exposure Laws

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Indecent Exposure Laws

Indecent exposure is the crime of exposing one’s private parts to other people. The crime involves the specific intent to offend individuals or for sexual gratification. The exposure does not consists of touching someone or threat of violence. It is considered a misdemeanor crime.

Is Urinating in Public Considered Indecent Exposure?

No, depending on where the urinating is done. An individual urinating outside of the direct view of the public, such as while ducking behind a bush, would not be committing indecent exposure because of lack of intent and lack of sexual gratification.

Is Breastfeeding in Public Considered Indecent Exposure?

Most states provide a breastfeeding exemption in their indecent exposure laws. This exemption allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in public with or without her breast being partially shown. New York does not permit breastfeeding for the purpose of play, entertainment, show, or exhibition.

How Do Indecent Exposure Laws Differ from State to State?

Indecent exposure laws vary from state to state due to the different language used in the laws of each state. In Alabama, it is a crime to expose one’s self with the intent to arouse or sexually gratify himself or others.  West Virginia defines indecent exposure as intentionally exposing one’s sex organs or anus to another individual, and this exposure involves engaging in overt sexual acts or offensive harm. Montana law defines indecent exposure as purposely or knowingly exposing a person’ genitals to abuse, humiliate, degrade or harass, or gratify.

How Are Indecent Exposure Laws Prosecuted?

State laws vary on how this crime is persecuted. However, the majority of state laws require the prosecution to prove intent. For example, in California, the prosecution must prove the intent to sexually offend, arouse, or gratify.

What Is the Penalty for Indecent Exposure? 

The penalty for indecent exposure in most states is usually a few months in county jail plus a fine. This is for the first offense. A second indecent exposure conviction is usually a felony conviction, which typically requires time in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about Indecent Exposure Laws in My State?

An indecent exposure conviction subjects you to a lifetime of possibly registering as a sex offender. It is recommended that you contact a criminal lawyer immediately about your case.

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Last Modified: 08-24-2016 08:55 AM PDT

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